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    PBA Semis: Ginebra torches Magnolia, extends series to Game 4

    MANILA, Philippines - Still Never Say Die as Barangay Ginebra San Miguel overcame an 18-point deficit to score a win against Magnolia Hotshots, 107-103 and extend their best-of-five PBA Governors’ Cup Semifinals showdown to game 4 on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    It’s very unusual for Barangay Ginebra to play a do-or-die game in the playoffs especially when Justin Brownlee on its core.

    Justin Brownlee hit his PBA career high with 46 points
    Justin Brownlee hit his PBA career high with 46 points and lifted up Ginebra to score a win versus Magnolia | Photo Credit: pba.ph

    But tonight, there’s really no place for any mistake for the Gins as they needed to win a game to extend their season.

    As soon as the ball was tipped, Ginebra pushed the ball hard to take the early lead. Justin Brownlee’s aggressiveness placed his team ahead of Magnolia.

    Brownlee got into double-figure in the 1st quarter alone. But the Hotshots locals matched his intensity and finished the opener with just a point deficit, 23-22.

    Momentum abruptly shifted to Magnolia as the period commenced. In just a span of 2 minutes, the Hotshots posted a 9-point lead over Ginebra. In frustration, Coach Tim Cone called 2 consecutive timeouts to re-organize his team.

    Magnolia kept on pounding the Gins who just relied on Justin Brownlee. At the 3-minute mark, Mark Barroca made a very rare 5-point play to widen his team’s gap and deepen Coach Cone’s agony.

    Three point shooting had been Hotshots’ best friend in the 2nd quarter and Barroca was the man of the moment as he led Magnolia to a 58-42 halftime advantage.

    Ginebra knocked on the door in the third. Spearheaded by Justin Brownlee who had 26, the Gins managed to downsize Hotshots’ lead to just 9.

    Ginebra finally picked up its pace but a problem came up as Japeth Aguilar committed his 5th personal foul with still 19 minutes to play. Aguilar was the only Ginebra local who was in double-digit before he commited his 5th foul.

    Despite Aguilar’s absence on the floor, GSM still managed to even the score with more than 2 minutes to play in the 3rd period. Brownlee’s offensive effort awarded him a huge 33 points and counting.

    Barangay took the lead momentarily in the dying seconds of the game but Mark Barroca’s buzzer beater three pointer saved the Hotshots with a slim 81-79 advantage.

    Good start for the Gins in the 4th quarter as they finally got the lead without the Hotshots disrupting them.

    GSM’s lead had gone up to 11 for the first time in this game plus Brownlee had also matched his conference high with 45 points and still 5 more minutes to play.

    In game 2, Coach Tim Cone got ejected due to 2 technical fouls that led to Ginebra’s loss. Tonight, it was Coach Chito Victolero’s turn to leave the game after disrespectfully handing the ball over to the referee due to frustration.

    Noticeably, Romeo Travis could probably played his worst game night in the PBA as he only poured 7 points.

    Come last 2 minutes of the ballgame, Paul Lee’s triple brought the lead down to just 2. Prior to Lee’s trey, Magnolia made a 7-1 scoring run to gallantly catch-up with Ginebra.

    Couple of basket exchanges and the game was tied at 103 with 40 seconds left in the game clock.

    During Ginebra’s final possession, LA Tenorio intentionally burned the clock and at the final second, hit a mid-range floater for the 2-point lead.

    Magnolia had 14 ticks to tie or win the game but Paul Lee’s 3-point attempt badly missed and paved a way for Ginebra to extend the series to Game 4.

    Tenorio went to the foul line after Lee’s three point shot to seal the game 107-103.

    Game 4 will be on Friday, November 16, 2018 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City at 7 pm.

    — Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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