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Ginebra spoils San Miguel ‘Slam’ bid, cruises to semifinals

Joe Devance of Ginebra goes for the shot against San Miguel center Jun Mar Fajardo in this piece of PBA Governors' Cup quarterfinal action at the MOA Arena. 
By Ricky Manliguis

MANILA—Barangay Ginebra used a strong second and fourth quarters as it crushed the San Miguel Beermen, 104-84, to march into the semi-finals of the 2017 Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay Wednesday night.

The victory kept the third-seeded Ginebra’s bid for back-to-back titles alive, while denying the sixth-ranked Beermen a chance for the historic Grand Slam in the season-ending conference.

After a neck-to-neck opening quarter, the top-seeded Gins suddenly went ballistic in the second behind import Justin Brownlee, who scattered 16 of his 20 first-half points, while Joe Devance ignited the fire with outside bombs for a 13-point lead, 45-32, going to the locker room.

Leading 74-61 after three, the Tim Cone-mentored squad then continued the rampage in the final canto, as Sol Mercado and Devance took charge in an 11-2 spurt for a 91-67 bubble. The lead then ballooned to as much as 30, 102-72, on a Scottie Thompson triple with less than three minutes left.

San Miguel tried to battle back behind import Terrence Watson, but that proved to be SMB’s last hurrah.

Brownlee continued his stats-filling ways, finishing with a game-high 37 points highlighted by four three-pointers, along with 12 rebounds and four shot blocks. Devance followed suit with 17 markers also on four threes, even as twin towers Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter each had 13.

Mercado finally woke up from his slumber to finish with nine, while Scottie Thompson had 12 rebounds and eight markers.

Watson paced SMB with 30 points and five rebounds, while Jun Mar Fajardo chipped in 19 and Marcio Lassiter 13.

Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos struggled in the entire match, finishing on a combined 14 markers only.

The crowd darlings will now await the winner of the do-or-die match between #2 TNT KaTropa and #7 Rain Or Shine for the best-of-five semis. The Elasto Painters erased the twice-to-beat edge of the KaTropa after pulling off a 106-102 win in the first game.

[Related Story: ROS shocks TNT, forces rubber match]

Box Scores:

Ginebra 104–Brownlee 37, Devance 17, Aguilar J. 13, Slaughter 13, Mercado 9, Tenorio 8, Thompson 7, Mariano 0

San Miguel 84–Watson 30, Fajardo 19, Lassiter 13, Cabagnot 8, Santos 6, Ross 5, Espinas 3, Rosser 0, De Ocampo 0

Quarterscores: 23-23, 45-32, 74-61, 104-84

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