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Ginebra moves closer to finals rematch with Meralco with Game 3 squeaker over TNT

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Ginebra moved to within a win from a PBA Governors' Cup Finals rematch with Meralco after a 106-103 win over TNT in Game 3 of the semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday night.

In a wild encounter that even saw emotions running high, it was crucial follow-ups that helped the Barangay take a 2-1 lead against the KaTropa in the best-of-five series.

Down 96-98, Ginebra went on a 7-0 run capped by a putback from Joe Devance to go up, 103-98.

After Glen Rice Jr. hit two free throws, Devance again scored on a follow-up to up the gap to five, 105-100, with 32.6 seconds left.

Rice tried to go for a layup but was blocked. He got the ball back and aimed for a rack attac that was missed. He would be called for a delay of game technical foul after he grabbed the offensive rebound while still hanging to the rim.

Justin Brownlee sank the ensuing technical free throw for the 106-100 count with 27 seconds to go.

However, the Barangay still needed some luck in the end.

Devance had a chance to seal the win as he was left wide open for the layup, but he botched the shot and Rice scored on a three-pointer in the ensuing play to cut the lead down to three.

Scottie Thompson then missed two crucial free throws, and Japeth Aguilar tapped the loose ball out, giving the KaTropa five seconds to force overtime.

Rice got a good look at the basket, but his trey rimmed out as time expired.

Devance finished with 20 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two blocks for Ginebra, which can seal the other finals berth on Sunday night back at the Big Dome.

Brownlee and Thompson each added 17 markers with both players getting double-doubles after grabbing 13 and 12 boards respectively.

Rice came up with a 44-point, 20-rebound, and six-assist performance, but the said explosion went down the drain.

Box Scores:

Ginebra 106-Devance 20, Slaughter 19, Thompson 17, Brownlee 17, Tenorio 16, Aguilar 8, Mercado 7, Ferrer 2. 

TNT 103-Rice Jr. 44, Castro 17, Semerad 10, Williams 10, Pogoy 7, Rosario 7, Golla 3, Reyes 3, Seigle 2, Nuyles 0, Tautuaa 0, Chua 0.

Quarterscores: 31-26, 60-49, 85-80, 106-103

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno