Manila, Philippines — The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel finished their eight-year Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) championship title drought in the most dramatic way possible, securing the Governors’ Cup with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from the team import Justin Brownlee.
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s 91-88 victory over the Meralco Bolts gave the Gin Kings their first PBA championship title since dating back in 2008.
“That was such a brilliant play I designed,” said Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone, who broke the spell after joining the Gin Kings prior to the season.
Justin Brownlee concluded the game tallying with 31 points, while the PBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) LA Tenorio posted 25 points with six assists, five rebounds, and just one turnover in over 37 minutes off the floor.
Scottie Thompson was the only other Gin Kings professional basketball player in double figures with 10.
Meanwhile, veterans Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand totaled six and five points, respectively.
The Barangal Ginebra won before a jam-packed crowd at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, which included legendary Barangay Ginebra icon Robert Jaworski.
The former Barangay Ginebra playing head coach even had a hand in the Gin Kings’ huge comeback from a 15-point halftime deficit, addressing the franchise in the locker room.
“I truly believed he settled everybody down,” said Cone. “I think the guys really felt something from that.”
Tenorio completed 20 points to bring the Gin Kings rallying back in the third quarter of the contest. It was an uphill clash in the fourth quarter period, with neither ball club leading by more than five points.
A Brownlee basket at the 2:21 mark nudged the Barangay Ginebra ahead, before Jimmy Alapag fastened the matchup at the free throw line with 89 seconds remaining on the clock.
A steal and a pair of freethrows coming from Cliff Hodge had Meralco Bolts on top by a pair with 35 seconds left, but Brownlee took it upon himself anew to even the battle off a time out, tied at 88.
With 29 seconds time remaining on the clock, the Maralco Bolts drained the clock, but import Allen Durham missed with seven seconds left to give the Gin Kings a huge chance to secure the game.
From another timeout, Brownlee pulled up from the deep just before the buzzer for the triumphant victory.
Rookie Chris Newsome contributed a total of 19 points to the Meralco Bolts, alongside a seven boards and three assists, while Allen Durham scored only 15 points. — Cetureon.com