PBA Finals: Ginebra outsmarts Meralco, now just a win away from the title

MANILA, Philippines - No typhoon can’t stop the Filipinos in watching PBA live and on TV. Not even “Karen” and “Lawin” can hinder the Gin Kings and Bolts in squaring off to gain win number 3 in this series’ best of 7 battle. Fortunately, the Gins maintained their momentum and just 1 “W” away from copping the Governors’ Cup Finals on wet and wild October 16 night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ginebra outsmarts Meralco, now just a win away from the title
Photo Credit: Inquirer.net
Every player knew from the very start that whoever takes this game 5 will carry the biggest advantage onto the next and penultimate game of the finals. It was virtually a do or die for both Ginebra and Meralco.

Despite of the win last Friday, Ginebra fans and staff were still worried of their 6’9” big man Japeth Aguilar after spraining his right ankle during the dying minutes of their last game. Everyone got a big sigh of relief after seeing the agile wingman in uniform.

Aguilar said that he’s assuring his team and their supporters that he will not be a liability in tonight’s game. With that said, he won the opening toss and quickly followed a solid block on Cliff Hodge’s floater in the middle.

Having an awful output in game 4, Justin Brownlee looked so sharp and vindicated as he opened the scoreboard with an easy bucket against his nemesis and Best Import, Allen Durham.

With just 4 minutes gone by in the first quarter, Ginebra’s starting 5 have already scored 2 points each for an early 10-2 lead.

The scoring Barrage continued for the Gins that prompted Coach Norman Black to call his first timeout on the 6th minute mark of the opener.

Brownlee was just 2 points shy from his game 4 scoring performance with 5 more minutes remaining in the opening chapter of the game.

Mark Caguioa who was one of the 2 heroes of the previous game entered the floor to relieve LA Tenorio at the back court due to early fouls sized-up the comebacking and fellow veteran Jimmy Alapag. Caguioa handled Alapag’s defense with an ease and scored back-to-back turn around baseline jumpers.

Jonathan Uyloan ended Meralco’s scoring drought with an uncontested three. But Justin Brownlee was just unstoppable and scored 2 more before the horn sounded. Ginebra was up, 33-19.

Bruiser Kelly Nabong gave his team its first 2 points from the foul line after regrouping during the quarter break.

Jayjay Helterbrand’s waxing-hot hands carried on this game as he made his presence known to Meralco by sinking a deep three in the middle. His old buddy, Mark Caguioa, humiliated and schooled the Rookie of the Year Chris Newsome with another baseline step-back jumper. Gin Kings got even further from the Bolts with a 19 point, 40-21 lead.

Justin Brownlee rocked the house down with a thunderous right-handed dunk and posterized Rabeh Al-Hussaini. Brownlee however, missed his charity but nonetheless recorded his 16th point with 7 more minutes remaining in the half. Allen Durham on the other hand kept shooting blanks with just 4 points under his name.

Bolts’ super rookie Newsome made his fair share late in the 2nd period. The problem was, as he scored, Kings fired back to maintain their huge margin.

Self-confessed die-hard Ginebra fan, PNP Chief, Gen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, took a day-off to support his team live which delighted the entire “Barangay” when he was focused on the jumbo LED screen.

Meralco took the last shot of the 1st half courtesy of veteran forward Reynel Hugnatan from downtown and brought Kings’ lead down to just 15, 54-39.

Worried of losing two-in-a-row, the Bolts led by Allen Durham blitzed for 6-2 scoring run that made Coach Tim Cone call for a ceasefire to talk things over. As Meralco slowly gained its momentum, the relentless Chris Newsome inadvertently committed his 4th personal foul and gave Coach Norman Black no other choice but to pull him out.

Both Ginebra and Meralco traded baskets in an exciting and fast pace. Durham who was a sleeper in the first 24 minutes of the game, came back alive and initiated the catch-up. With his efforts under the rim, the Bolts found themselves downed by just 10 points, 64-54 with 5:33 left in the 3rd. Once again, Coach Cone called an untimely timeout to ice the Bolts.

Battle of the boards was too intense for both squads on the last minutes of the penultimate quarter. Jervy Cruz, who played an undersized center got most of the rebounds and converted few of them to maintain the Ginebra double-digit lead.

Durham found his rhythm under the basket instead of taking jumpers. He could’ve scored more if he only made his bonus shots. Durham had 17 heading to the final canto.

Caguioa ended the 3rd with another baseline jump shot. This time, in front of Jonathan Uyloan’s face and escalated his team’s lead to 14, 73-59.

Finally, coming from a long hibernation, Jimmy Alapag connected from the rainbow territory but got a personal foul while guarding the taller Helterbrand.

Durham got fouled once again off a fastbreak. He split his charities but managed to trim the lead to 10.

The 21,127 paying patrons jumped off their seats when Japeth Aguilar chased down Allen Durham and blocked his potential 2-pointer layup. Aguilar wagged his point finger ala Dikembe Mutombo's infamous “not in my house” gesture. Durham atoned his flaw by rejecting LA Tenorio’s tear drop shot and sent the ball straight to the sidelines.

For the first time in the game, Meralco was able to cut Ginebra’s lead to a single-digit courtesy of Jimmy Alapag’s three, 79-71 but Joe Devance was too quick to react and brought the lead back to 10 followed by 1 more point on the free throw line.

Veteran Reynel Hugnatan showed finesse on the charity stripe off defensive boards plus Newsome’s crucial points to cut the lead down to just 5, 82-77. Seconds after, Sol Mercado rang the bell from the outside to keep their distance.

LA Tenorio, found the cutting Justin Brownlee from the right side for a perfect dish and easy 2 points. Ginebra posted a comfortable 10-point, 87-77 lead with 1:28 remaining in the ballgame.

Allen Durham and Chris Newsome added 4 points to bring the lead down to just 6 with under a minute remaining.

Sol Mercado took an extra step during a possession but wasn’t called that could’ve given Meralco a stop.
Durham got fouled but again, missed his 2 free throws.

The final buzzer echoed and Ginebra sealed a back-to-back wins for a 3-2 series lead. They can finish it on Wednesday to end their 8-year championship drought.

Here's full video replay of PBA Governors' Cup Finals Game 5:


Ginebra 92 - Brownlee 29, Aguilar 16, Devance 11, Mercado 8, Caguioa 8, Tenorio 7, Helterbrand 6, Thompson 5, Cruz 2

Meralco 81 - Durham 20, Hugnatan 17, Hodge 10, Newsome 10, Alapag 8, Uyloan 6, Amer 4, Al-Hussaini 4, Nabong 2

--Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

Previous Post Next Post