By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings are on the cusp of winning another Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup title after dominating the Meralco Bolts, 94-72, in Game Four of their best-of-seven finals on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Showed no let-up once they got their collective groove going in the second quarter, the Kings broke away from the Bolts and stayed the course to secure the win and the 3-1 lead in the series.
The contest got off to a competitive start with the teams not budging a bit.
They fought to a tied count of 14-all after the first 12 minutes.
In the second quarter, the Kings picked up their offense, led by import Justin Brownlee.
They outscored the Bolts, 15-6, in the first six minutes to build a 29-20 advantage.
It was a wave they would ride for the rest of the frame on their way to a 42-31 lead at the break.
Barangay Ginebra kept pouring it on Meralco at the start of the third quarter, opening the proceedings with an 8-2 run to stretch its lead to 17 points, 50-33, with just two minutes lapsing.
A hurting Raymond Almazan and import Allen Durham tried to keep the Bolts in the game but the Kings continued to hold sway, 61-44, midway into the quarter.
Barangay Ginebra would eventually settle for a 70-55 lead heading into the final frame.
Sensing that they had their opponents on the ropes, the Kings attempted for an early finish.
But Meralco stayed within striking distance, 77-63, at the 7:17 mark of the final canto.
Scottie Thompson and Aljun Mariano then propelled the Kings to a 9-0 blast in the next two minutes to push their lead to 23 points, 86-63.
From there it was all Barangay Ginebra as Meralco just had minimal answer as time wound up.
Mr. Brownlee paced the balanced Kings attack, finishing with 27 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, five steals and four blocks.
Stanley Pringle had 21 points while Scottie Thompson finished with 16 for Barangay Ginebra, which is gunning for a third Governors’ Cup title in the last four years.
For Meralco it was Mr. Durham who showed the way with 21 points, 27 rebounds and seven assists.
Mr. Almazan, who was expected to miss Wednesday’s game after injuring his knee in Game Three, had 12 points and nine boards.
Chris Newsome also had 12 markers.
Meanwhile, prior to Game Four, top individual awards for the Governors’ Cup were handed out.
Winning best import was Mr. Durham who got 1,170 points, ahead of Mr. Brownlee (937), TNT’s KJ McDaniels (635) and Northport’s Michael Qualls (528).
Best player of the conference, meanwhile, went to Northport’s Christian Standhardinger, who got 1,011 points.
Coming in second was San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo (657), TNT’s Jayson Castro (615), Columbian’s CJ Perez (506) and NLEX’s Kiefer Ravena (481).
Accounted for the votes for both best import and best player of the conference awards are statistical points, media, player and PBA office votes.