Kings deal Bolts Friday the 13th loss
LUCENA – Barangay Ginebra inflicted a game-long brilliance over challenger Meralco and turned an expected Game 1 showdown to a horrific romp at the start of their Governors Cup title series before a capacity crowd last night at the Quezon Convention Center here. The Gin Kings simply played their hearts out and outgunned and outhustled the restless Bolts to fashion out a 102-87 victory and take the headstart in their best-of-seven title series. Game 2 is slated tomorrow at the Big Dome. Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar made their presence felt in the shaded area, Kevin Ferrer sizzled from the quarter court and LA Tenorio did an efficient job at the backcourt to back up Justin Brownlee to carry the Kings to a magnificent start in the series. Joe Devance played tough defense on Allen Durham while Sol Mercado and Scottie Thompson provided help at the backcourt as the Kings picked up from where they left off in the last Governors Cup finale. Stopping the Bolts’ hot streak from the quarterfinal round, the Kings will enjoy the momentum and the psychological edge at the resumption of the championship series over at the Smart Araneta Coliseum tomorrow. Brownlee, Ginebra’s biggest hero in their finals conquest of Meralco last year, was at it in this series opener, coming through with a superb all-around performance with 32 points, 19 rebounds and six assists against three errors in 45 minutes of action.
And firepower was in abundance for Ginebra with Aguilar, Slaughter, Ferrer and Tenorio also delivering double-digit outputs.
Hitting their shots from afar and on attacks to the baskets, the Kings seized control early and kept the Bolts on the trail to the finish.
The Kings were as efficient on the defensive end as they contained key Meralco locals Jarred Dillinger, Chris Newsome, Cliff Hodge, Ranidel de Ocampo and Reynel Hugnatan.
Durham came through with his usual solid all around numbers with 27 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists, but only Baser Amer and Chris Tolomia were the other Bolts who put in double-digit outputs with 14 and 10, respectively.
From an early 17-point deficit, the Bolts actually waged an effort to trim the gap to four, 71-75, towards the end of the third, but the Kings went roaring again in the payoff period.
Brownlee waxed hottest at the start of the fourth, leading the way in a 19-4 tear that broke the back of the Bolts.
The Kings enjoyed an early double-digit spread at 29-18 which they stretched to 17, 40-23, before taking the half at 49-35.
Brownlee had had double-double numbers at the half with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Ginebra second-string players – Slaughter, Ferrer and Mark Caguioa – themselves came out firing, teaming up with Brownlee in the onslaught that opened their 17-point lead.
Ferrer knocked in two triples while Durham scored a jam off Newsome to highlight the bristling run that sent their throng to early chants of “GI-NE-BRA! GI-NE-BRA!”