|Justin Brownlee issued another 40-point performance as Ginebra takes the headstart in the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals. PBA Media Bureau|
By Ricky Manliguis
QUEZON CITY-- Barangay Ginebra stepped on the gas early on behind the hot shooting of Justin Brownlee to pull off a dominating 127-99 win over San Miguel and take the headstart of the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With Brownlee on ballistic mode once more, the Gin Kings went on a tear from the start, while its pesky defense stymied the vaunted SMB offensive enough to take a 1-0 edge in the best-of-7 series.
The crowd darlings jumped the gun with a 9-2 start, then sustained its hot shooting to a 69-50 halftime advantage. They kept the momentum in the second half as the lead ballooned to 39, 119-80, with less than five minutes left in the game.
Brownlee finished with a game-best 42 points on an efficient 17-of-19 shooting, with 29 coming in the first half. He also had nine assists, seven rebounds, two blocks, and a steal in almost 40 minutes of action.
Joe Devance added 20 points, four assists, three steals, and three boards, while Mark Caguioa provided the spark off the bench with 11 markers. Greg Slaughter finished with 11 to go with seven boards, even as Sol Mercado chipped in 10.
Ginebra shot better from the field at 61 percent (51-of-83) as compared to SMB’s 39 percent clip (39-of-100). It also torched the three-point area with a 13-of-25 shooting.
Renaldo Balkman paced San Miguel with 27 points and 13 rebounds, while Christian Standhardinger came off the bench to score a career-high 26 with eight boards.
June Mar Fajardo was the other Beerman in double digits with 13 markers.
Game 2 is set on Sunday also at the Big Dome.
Ginebra 127 - Brownlee 42, Devance 20, Slaughter 11, Caguioa 11, Mercado 10, Tenorio 9, Thompson 7, Ferrer 7, Mariano 4, Chan 2, Cruz 2, Aguilar 2, Caperal 0, Manuel 0.
San Miguel 99 - Balkman 27, Standhardinger 26, Fajardo 13, Santos 8, Lassiter 6, Cabagnot 5, Nabong 5, Ross 4, Lanete 3, Pessumal 0.
Quarterscores: 35-20, 69-50, 94-75, 127-99.