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Ginebra stays alive in "Clasico" semis with comeback Game 3 win over Magnolia

Justin Brownlee matched his career-high as the Barangay survived. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--When Magnolia built a 58-42 halftime lead in Game 3 of the PBA Governors' Cup semifinals, some fans already thought of conceding to the fact that the team will sweep Ginebra in their best-of-five series.

But the Barangay's never-say-die spirit prevailed in the second half.

Ginebra saved its season with a 107-103 win against Magnolia at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night.

The Barangay went havoc in the third period and even had a chance to enter the fourth quarter ahead if not for a buzzer-beating triple from Mark Barroca to put the Hotshots back up, 81-79.

Ginebra opened the fourth with a 14-2 run to reclaim the lead, and the team would stretch it to as high as 11.

Magnolia's frustrations hit another level when Coach Chito Victolero was ejected due to a technical foul after apparently giving the ball back to the referee with force.

The said development, however, gave the team some life as it went on a 14-1 run that gave the squad a 103-101 lead with 53 seconds to go.

Scottie Thompson, however, scored on a tip-in to tie the game once more, 103-all, with 40.3 seconds remaining.

Barroca and Paul Lee then had a miscue when the latter's pass to the former went too high, giving Ginebra an opportunity to reclaim the lead.

LA Tenorio then dashed through the middle of the paint and drilled a floater in to give his team the lead back, 105-103, with 14.9 seconds left.

Lee had a chance to redeem himself, but he opted for a long triple that he airballed.

Romeo Travis still tried to recover the ball, but he failed to clear the rebound as the ball went out of bounds and Tenorio sealed the victory with two free throws.

Brownlee equaled his career-high with 46 points, 18 coming in the third quarter where they mounted the comeback, alongside 19 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and three blocks for the Barangay, who cut the series to 2-1, forcing a Game 4 on Friday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Thompson added 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and one steal, while Tenorio chipped in 14 markers, 11 in the pivotal fourth period, five rebounds, and five dimes.

Barroca made 19 points, three boards, five assists, and one steal for the Hotshots in a game where Travis was limited to just 12 markers, although he got six in the final quarter including back-to-back layups that gave them their last taste of the lead.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno