Ginebra pounces on Lee’s limited action, closes in on Finals berth

Barangay Ginebra pounced on the limited action from the ailing Paul Lee and ripped Magnolia apart with a 103-80 victory in the Game 3 of their best-of-five semifinals series in the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena on Sunday, Dec. 18.

Justin Brownlee achieves another PBA career milestone while leading Ginebra to a 2-1 series lead over Magnolia (PBA Images)

The Kings unloaded a huge second quarter assault that enabled them to build a double-digit spread which they managed to protect the rest of the way and knock on the PBA Finals door after taking a 2-1 series lead.

Rebounding from a heartbreaking 96-95 loss, the duo of Justin Brownlee and LA Tenorio made sure to not let the game boil down to another grindout affair in the dying minutes as they anchored the telling run in the second frame.

Brownlee put up an all-around effort of 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists while also reaching another PBA career milestone as the only fifth import to reach 5,000 point mark in the league.

Tenorio provided ample support with 20 points while Scottie Thompson added 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Tied 25-all in the second frame, the Kings unloaded a blistering 12-1 run to build the first double-digit spread of the game, 37-26. Nick Rakocevic and Jio Jalalon retaliated with back-to-back hits to stay within striking distance, 39-34, but another 10-0 rally to end the first half proved to be the pivotal run Ginebra needed to put the game away.

Without Lee, who was averaging 22.5 points in the first two games of the series but only played for three minutes as he was feeling under the weather, Magnolia never really threatened in the second half although Rakocevic and Jalalon tried to light some fire from the Hotshots.

Jalalon stepped up in Lee’s absence finishing with 16 points and six assists while Rakocevic added a 10 points and 12 rebounds. Adrian Wong and Aris Dionisio were the other Hotshots in twin digits with 10 each as well.

Ginebra can now close out the series in Game 4 on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.