Ginebra turns to defense, Brownlee heroics to beat Meralco in QF Game 1

Justin Brownlee drove past Chris Newsome. PBA Media Bureau
By Patrick Sutare

QUEZON CITY--Barangay Ginebra continues to bank on momentum as it took Meralco's scalp in their best-of-three quarterfinal series opener, 88-81, on Monday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.

The Kings relied on familiarity - both on themselves and their archrivals - as the team quickly flipped the switch to open the scoring gates in the third after being limited offensively at halftime.

The fifth seed Ginebra went on a 29-point barrage in the third canto after just scoring 38 in the first two quarters.

Then another familiar sight was witnessed in winning time.

After taking the driver's seat going into the deciding period, the crowd favorites turned to their resident hero - and Meralco's ultimate villain - Justin Brownlee to rescue them in the clutch and finish the job.

The prized import buried a booming triple with 25.5 ticks left to put the game out of reach, 87-79, as Ginebra went on to stretch their hot streak to six wins bridging to the eliminations where they started flat at 1-5.

Brownlee finished with 25 points, nine boards and six assists.

The Bolts, although also solid defensively, struggled to manufacture a series of buckets amidst the Kings' smothering defense.

Baser Amer's 15 points was the team's highest individual output as Jared Dillinger came out next with 13.

Arinze Onuaku was held silent all game long as he just scored 12 points in 40 minutes.

Meralco will shoot to tie the series on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. still at the said venue.

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