By Patrick Sutare
QUEZON CITY--Barangay Ginebra will march into the Quarterfinal round of the PBA Commissioner's Cup holding a twice-to-beat advantage after officially securing top-seed of the team standings at the cost of Mahindra, 94-80, on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Not taking any chances, the Gin Kings did not allow their status as favorites of the match be a cause of complacency as they quickly unraveled a shaky start to upend the Floodbuster from the tailend of the first frame until the consummation of the match.
Mahindra engaged the Barangay on a collision course during the early goings of the game before the latter shifted to third gear to spur an onslaught and ended the first period ahead by 10, 26-16.
Ginebra boosted the upper hand to 14 at halftime, 47-33, highlighted by a tough triple from LA Tenorio just before the buzzer sounded.
The Floodbuster would stage a slight salvo in the third period to close in to within eight midway, 51-59, and barged into the payoff period just down by nine, 59-68.
But Ginebra instantly turned the tides back to their side in the deciding frame that eventually sent the Floodbuster packing.
Justin Brownlee paced the Barangay with 22 points, 10 rebounds andfive assists, while Mark Caguioa showed flashes of his vintage self to finish with 13 points and four boards off the bench.
Keith Wright wound up 21 points and 22 rebounds for Mahindra, who despite having no burdens to carry ahead of the game still suffered its eighth defeat of the conference.
The Gin Kings will still wait for the winner of the Globalport-Alaska eight-seed clash on Sunday before heading into the quarterfinal tiff.
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