Kings whip Bolts, grab 1-0 start
Ginebra unrelenting from the start, surprises even Cone
LUCENA— Too big, too quick and too deadly, Barangay Ginebra couldn’t have come up with a more intimidating statement to start its PBA Governors’ Cup title series against Meralco Friday night.
The Gin Kings were all over the Bolts right from the get-go and battered the Bolts blackand-blue, 102-87, at Quezon Convention Center here to seize a 1-0 start and also put a huge dent in the enemy’s psyche with the second game just two nights away.
Justin Brownlee scored 32 points, had 19 rebounds and missed a triple double by four assists to headline the unforgiving Kings, who led by as large as 21 for the emphatic Game 1 win in their grudge rematch for the season-ending title.
The Bolts would now have a long road trip back to Manila, where they will have to pick up the pieces and figure out what went wrong, as the series-opener not a few tipped would be close got out of hand early.
And the way Ginebra played—and dominated—actually surprised coach Tim Cone, who said that he expected a “rusty” team to go out there.
“I was surprised that we played this well,” Cone said after getting five players in twin digits. “I was surprised that we controlled the game from start to finish.”
The Kings closed out the first period with a bang and jumped to a 40-23 lead in the second quarter after a Brownlee basket that buried the Bolts in a hole they were never able to climb out of.
Meralco, the elimination round topnotcher, tried repeatedly to get back in the contest, narrowing that gap to within four in the dying seconds of the third after a four-point play by rookie Mike Tolomia.
But a barrage of triples gave the Kings a 96-75 lead going into the final 5:05 and completely knocked the wind out of the Bolts.
Game 2 is slated Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, and the Bolts would need to find an antidote to Ginebra’s imposing size and impeccable shooting if they want to avoid falling 0-2 behind.
Only three franchises in the league’s history have defended the Governors’ Cup, with Ginebra looking to join the company of sister teams San Miguel Beer and San Mig Coffee and the Alaska Aces.
Another crucial factor for the authoritative win was Ginebra’s defense on Allen Durham, whom the Kings held down to 27 points, just 10 in the first half where Ginebra made its most damage.