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Ginebra outlasts Meralco in Game 5 to inch closer to title

By: Patrick Sutare

MANILA--The red jersey had seemed to have a curse for Ginebra, but it was put to end tonight.

The Kings cruised past Meralco in Game 5, 92-81, on Sunday in front of over 22,000 sell-out crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City to steal the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals series advantage, 3-2, and move to a win closer from capturing their first title in eight years.

Starting the game like a house on fire, Ginebra built an early gap opposite the Bolts, dropping 33 in the first quarter and establishing a lead to as huge as 21 in the first half.

The score was 54-39 for the Kings heading to the break as Allen Durham was held to just four points in the first 24-minute stretch.

Proving to be like a chess match for both coaches since Game 1, Meralco stormed back to the game as coach Norman Black unleashed more cards up his sleeve, trimming the deficit to just single digit late in the third, 68-59.

But coach Tim Cone was up to the challenge, sending back his vintage duo of Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand to the court. The legendary backcourt then answered the call, scoring five points combined as the Gin Kings carried a 14-point cushion going to the final quarter, 73-59.

As the crowd went up on its feet with Ginebra holding a 10-point edge with 1:29 remaining, the Bolts staged one final salvo.

Durham and Chris Newsome scored a quick four unanswered points to bring Meralco closer with 1:08 left, 87-81.

Escaping an apparent travelling violation from Sol Mercado that could have brought the possession back to the Bolts, the leather found its way into the hands of Scottie Thompson, who then nailed a booming triple to ice the game for Ginebra.

Justin Brownlee bounced back from his 10-point mess in Game 4 as he went bonkers in this game, dropping 29 points in an efficient 13 out of 20 field goal shooting. He cracked down 10 boards as well.

Japeth Aguilar tallied 16 markers and eight rebounds despite playing with a sprained ankle.

Durham led Meralco with 20 points, 18 rebounds and six assists.

Ginebra guns for the title clincher in Game 6 which is set on Wednesday still at the Araneta Coliseum.

Box scores:
Ginebra 92-Brownlee 29, Aguilar 16, Devance 11, Caguioa 8, Mercado 8, Tenorio 7, Thompson 5, Cruz 2

Meralco 81-Durham 20, Hugnatan 17, Hodge 10, Newsome 10, Alapag 8, Uyloan 6, Al-Hussaini 4, Amer 4, Nabong 2, Caram 0, Faundo 0

Quarterscores: 33-19, 54-39, 73-59, 92-81
Follow him on Twitter: @patricksutare