|Jeff Chan posted his best game with Ginebra. Rick Dela Cruz|
By Dugout Philippines
QUEZON CITY--Barangay Ginebra finished the way it started to notch a 102-89 victory over Rain or Shine Sunday at the start of their PBA Commissioner's Cup semi-final series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The pair of Justin Brownlee and Jeff Chan led a balanced offensive by the Kings which was most evident in a searing 21-2 run over a seven-minute span in the fourth quarter that fully put the game away.
Before the Elasto Painters knew what hit them, they were behind by 78-102 and were left looking forward to bouncing back in Game 2 of the best-of-five series Tusday.
Reggie Johnson led Rain or Shine with 30 points and 13 rebounds while James Yap added 15 and Ed Daquioag 10.
The likes of Raymond Almazan, Chris Tiu and Maverick Ahanmisi did not produce their usual points, however, with Almazan even going scoreless.
In contrast, Ginebra's offensive display was headlined by Brownlee's game highs of 35 points and 14 rebounds on top of nine assists.
Chan also came off the bench to explode for 21 points, 10 coming in the final canto that broke the Kings off from an 81-76 count and fully quashed the hopes of his original PBA team.
Greg Slaughter also contributed with 20 points and six rebounds and Joe Devance 12 points as Ginebra hardly missed the services of Japeth Aguilar, who was nursing a left Achilles tendon injury he suffered during the quarterfinals-clinching game against Meralco last Wednesday.
Defense also kicked in anew for the Kings in the stretch that mattered most as they held the E-Painters to a horrific 1-for-11 field shooting and three turnovers in that crucial stretch that came after Tiu capped his seven points with a floater to make it 76-81.
The finish was eerily similar to the way the game started, when Ginebra made its first four tries from deep to go ahead by as much as 20-7.
When the Kings started missing their outside shots they proceeded to penetrate and stretch their lead to 40-22, off Chan's first triple.
The E-Painters won't easily give up, though, with Daquioag scattering all of his points and joining hands with Johnson in leading an assault that brought them back to within striking distance.
It took a Brownlee shotclock beater before Ginebra could take a 52-45 spread at the halftime break.
With Yap going on a 10-point binge, capped by a rare four-point play, in the third quarter Rain or Shine kept within 63-67 and were still within 70-76 going to the final frame.
Ginebra 102 - Brownlee 35, Chan 21, Slaughter 20, Devance 12, Tenorio 5, Thompson 4, Mercado 3, Aguilar 2, Caperal 0, Mariano 0, Manuel 0, Ferrer 0.
Rain or Shine 89 - Johnson 30, Yap 15, Daquioag 10, Tiu 7, Washington 6, Ponferada 6, Ahanmisi 6, Belga 4, Nambatac 3, Norwood 2, Almazan 0, Borboran 0.
Quarters: 31-17, 52-45, 76-70, 102-89.