Ginebra rallies in fourth to tie finals series against Meralco

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--As the old saying goes, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings."

Meralco experienced it early in the fourth quarter, but eventually, Ginebra also got a dose of the saying before escaping with the win.

The Barangay came back from 16 points down but needed a sigh of relief at the death to pip the Bolts, 88-86, in Game 4 of the PBA Governors' Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday night.

Appearing to be heading to a smooth sail en route to tying the best-of-seven series at 2-all after slowing Meralco down in the first quarter, Ginebra found itself getting shut down by Meralco in the third quarter, getting limited to only four points in the final eight minutes of the period and lagging behind, 58-74, at the end of the quarter.

But birthday boy Jayjay Helterbrand came to life in the fourth, scoring all of his 11 points at the start of the period and, with the help of Japeth Aguilar and Mark Caguioa, leading the Barangay to a 21-2 run that gave them the lead back, 79-76.

However, they could only extend the lead to five, and the Bolts eventually tied the game, 86-all, after a three-point play by Allen Durham with 1:19 remaining.

Scottie Thompson was called for a three-second violation but bounced back after stealing the pass intended for Durham, leading to a go-ahead fadeaway jumper by Joe Devance with 25.7 seconds left.

Durham opted for a pull-up trey that he botched, and LA Tenorio collared the rebound before getting fouled.

However, Tenorio left the window wide open for Meralco as he missed two free throws with 7.8 seconds left.

Ginebra only exited with the victory after Chris Newsome sorrily missed a jumper from the free throw line as time expired.

Aguilar led the Barangay with 19 points, six rebounds, and two blocks in a game where Justin Brownlee was limited to only 10 points, although he finished with a double-double after grabbing 10 rebounds as well.

Durham got 34 markers, 20 caroms, three assists, two steals, and one block, while Newsome who was earlier named as the Rookie of the Year, added 15 points, four rebounds, seven assists, and two blocks.

"It was fun to be a part of that game," Coach Tim Cone evaluated the match.

Ginebra's win assured that a Game 6 will be played, but on when it will take place will depend on whether Game 5, scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. tip-off on Sunday night at the said venue, will push through or not with Typhoon Karen threatening Central and Southern Luzon.

Box Scores:

Ginebra 88-Aguilar 19, Tenorio 12, Helterbrand 11, Brownlee 10, Mercado 10, Caguioa 8, Cruz 7, Devance 7, Thompson 4, Marcelo 0

Meralco 86-Durham 34, Newsome 15, Caram 8, Al-Hussaini 8, Hodge 6, Hugnatan 5, Nabong 4, Uyloan 3, Amer 3, Faundo 0, Alapag 0, Guevarra 0

Quarterscores: 20-13, 46-35, 58-74, 88-86

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno