Justin Brownlee once again weaved his magic and took charge for Barangay Ginebra in the endgame to avoid the upset axe from Terrafirma with a 109-104 win in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Wednesday, March 8.
Brownlee pulled off the biggest plays down the stretch, first scoring on a layup to put the Kings ahead by three, 107-104, with 1:01 left before blocking Dyip import Jordan Williams in the next possession which led to a Jamie Malonzo dunk that sealed the deal.
Brownlee exploded for 38 points, six assists and five blocks to lead the way for Ginebra which clinched the quarterfinals bonus after rising to the solo second in the standings with an 8-2 record.
Christian Standhardinger also sustained his stellar showing for the Kings with a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds while Malonzo added 16 markers and 13 boards.
“Well I didn’t want to lose the game. I mean we made a decision from the coaching staff that we were going to go for this win and this was crucial for us to go into the top 4. We didn’t wanna leave it to playing with TNT later on,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone when asked about his short rotation that only saw him field seven players.
Cone admitted that it backfired to the Kings as his players had a hard time shaking off a fighting Dyip squad which for the most part rode the hot hands of Williams.
Looking to have a sweet end to the season, Terrafirma kept in step with Ginebra for the most part of the contest and even took a brief five-point lead in the first half, 38-33.
The Kings went on to take the lead at the break, 52-48, but couldn’t really pull away in the second as the Dyip stayed within striking distance behind the efforts of Williams and Juami Tiongson.
Terrafirma even engaged Ginebra to a see-saw affair, getting its last taste of the lead, 105-104, with 1:20 left following a Williams layup. That’s when Brownlee took charge on both ends of the floor with the big plays to secure the win.
Williams left a lasting impression with 35 points on six triples on top of 10 rebounds. Tiongson also ended the conference-long brilliance with 18 points as the Dyip formally exited the conference on a 2-9 slate.