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    PBA Finals: Ginebra escapes Meralco to take Game 1

    MANILA, Philippines – “Rivalry in the making.” Since 2016, Meralco and Ginebra have already met in the finals twice where Gins made it 2-0. This year, both teams cemented another history as they squared off for the third time. Game 1 favored the Gin Kings as they escaped the feisty Bolts, 91-87 on Tuesday, January 7 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    Ginebra resident import Justin Brownlee topped all players with a usual double-double of 38 points and 15 rebounds. Brownlee was supported by Japeth Aguilar with 16 points and a game-saving block to seal game number 1.

    Justin Brownlee hit a game-high 38 points to help Ginebra beat Meralco
    Justin Brownlee hit a game-high 38 points to help Ginebra beat Meralco and seal Game 1 | Credit: pba.ph

    Meralco had a handful of chances to upset Ginebra with Allen Durham posted a PBA-rare triple-double with 25 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists but fell short in the dying minutes of the final quarter. Aside from Durham, Chris Newsome and Raymond Almazan also had 20-point games.

    The Bolts dominated the first 3 quarters but Ginebra rallied in the final canto and totally snatched the lead from Meralco until the final buzzer.

    Game 2 will be on Friday, January 10 in Lucena City, Quezon Province.

    The Scores:

    Ginebra 91 - Brownlee 38, Aguilar 16, Tenorio 14, Pringle 10, Slaughter 8, Thompson 2, Chan 2, Devance 1

    Meralco 87 - Durham 25, Newsome 24, Almazan 20, Amer 9, Caram 4, Quinto 3, Maliksi 2, Hodge 0, Pinto 0, Faundo 0

    Quarter Scores: 19-19, 41-37, 71-68, 91-87

    — Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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