|Justin Brownlee drilled the game-winner to cap a 32-point outburst. PBA Media Group|
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong
PASAY CITY — Ginebra banked on Justin Brownlee down the stretch to hand NorthPort their first defeat in the PBA Commissioner's Cup with a low-scoring 73-70 win Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Brownlee was relentless inside the court and gave the Batang Pier import, Prince Ibeh, a run for his money.
NorthPort started out strong, proving that they came out to play and retain their flawless record.
They dominated most of the first quarter, in spite the chances of the Gin Kings to score.
However, the opening quarter ended with the Batang Pier only leading by a hair, 14-13.
The Gin Kings took over the driver's seat as the second quarter whistled in.
The first half ended with the Gin Kings enjoying a 7-point lead against the Batang Pier, 38-31.
The third period proved to be a NorthPort show, starting with a triple fired by Sean Anthony to cut the lead to 4, 40-36.
Anthony later on found an open Mo Tautuaa for an easy basket to further trim the lead down to 2, 40-38 with 9:39 left in the third.
Anthony eventually tied the game, 40-all, with another basket two minutes later.
Ginebra was able to regain the lead over the efforts of Brownlee and Scottie Thompson, but NorthPort would not simply give up fighting to keep their record unblemished.
Jonathan Grey was able to convert a basket off an assist by Robert Bolick to cut the Ginebra lead down again to 4, 55-51.
At the return of possession, while he was making an attempt to sink a triple, Grey was fouled by LA Tenorio, earning him a trip to the free throw line on which he completed and sealed the quarter off with Ginebra only leading by 1, 55-54.
The final salvo witnessed drastic lead changes between the two teams, especially towards the last few minutes.
Brownlee fouled Anthony while in the act of shooting a triple, earning and completing three free throws for NorthPort to cut Ginebra's lead down to one again, 65-64.
Anthony then found an open Jonathan Grey for an easy basket that gave the lead to NorthPort, 66-65 with only 5:37 left in the ball game.
Scottie Thompson's jumper gave the lead back to Ginebra; 67-66.
Things turned a little more interesting at the 2:25 mark after Brownlee tied the game with a split fron the free throw line.
Tautuaa broke the deadlock at the final 2 minutes of the game, 70-68.
With 1:51 to play, Brownlee scored a basket to tie the game, 70-all.
He then showed that he is really up for an upset when he scored a triple with only 1:29 left to play, giving Ginebra a three-point advantage.
The odds were in Ginebra's favour as the last set up play by North Port did not capitalise.
Brownlee was named the best player of the game, finishing off with 32 points.
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