Ginebra enters q’finals, stays on track for top two

Barangay Ginebra import Justin Brownlee tries to extricate from the defense of the tight-guarding Roger Pogoy of TNT.

Barangay Ginebra survived a big TNT rally before preserving a tough 89-85 win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on 20 November.

The Gin Kings were pushed to the limit by an undermanned but fighting Tropang Giga, who played without their import, Cameron Oliver, and their key players missing in different stretches.

Oliver showed up in street clothes, sidelined by a leg injury, while Jayson Castro had to leave the game after rolling his ankle. Worse, TNT top gun Mikey Williams suffered from cramps.

Yet the Tropang Giga had the will to climb back from 17 points down.

However, key baskets from Justin Brownlee, Christian Standhardinger and reigning Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson enabled the Gin Kings to avert an endgame collapse and stretch their winning run to five straight games.

The win improved their win-loss record to 7-2 and formalized their entry to the playoffs.

More importantly, Barangay Ginebra stayed on track in the race for the top two berth.

Teams which will finish with the top two record at the end of the elimination round will secure a twice-to-beat advantage going to the playoffs.

The scores:

GINEBRA 89 – Brownlee 21, Pringle 12, Thompson 10, J.Aguilar 9, Tenorio 8, Mariano 8, Malonzo 8, Standhardinger 8, Gray 5, Pinto 0

TNT 85 – M.Williams 20, Pogoy 18, Erram 16, Khobuntin 10, Castro 7, Oftana 6, K.Williams 4, Tungcab 2, Heruela 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Soyud 0

QUARTERS: 34-22, 53-45, 68-71, 89-85

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