|Justin Brownlee took only needed the 4th quarter to lead Barangay Ginebra to a victory against TnT KaTropa to add another game day on their Best-of-Five semis series at the Mall of Asia Arena, Tuesday night. Dennis Jerome Acosta|
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong
PASAY CITY - Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings's "never say die" attitude ignited on a Tuesday night to prevent the TNT KaTropa from making an early booking at the Commissioner's Cup finals with a 80-72 victory at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Coach Tim Cone changed his starting rotation, utilizing a much smaller line-up, leaving the likes of Joe Devance and Japeth Aguilar sitting on the bench at the start of the game.
Cone instead surprised the KaTropa by including veteran Mark Caguioa in the starters and proved that it is a wise decision as Caguioa opened the scoring for Ginebra.
"You just can't ignore Mark, that's why we played him a lot tonight. He's a big threat for us and I like it when he's out there on the floor," said Cone.
TNT were not able to contain L.A. Tenorio's outside scoring in the first half despite the efforts of the KaTropa to keep an eye on the Gin Kings captain.
Tenorio scored 10 points in the first quarter alone, scoring three triples out of seven attempts in the entire ball game.
Ginebra was able to show grit against the KaTropa, leading as much as 10 points at halftime, 42-32.
TnT was able to cut the lead down to just 4 points at the resumption of play from the halftime break through the efforts of Troy Rosario only to find themselves trailing by as much as 7 points; 40-47 after Team Consultant, Coach Mark Dickel was called for a technical foul for pointing a finger at an official.
After Terrence Jones completed a three-point play off a foul against Devance to cut the KaTropa's trail to only 2 points; 45-47, Don Trollano scored to tie the ball game at 47-all that alarmed the Gin Kings and called a ceasefire to regroup.
Ginebra was quick to reclaim the lead with Devance scoring a basket.
Third quarter ended with a tie at 57-all, proving that both teams would not want to back down just yet.
While the KaTropa were able to contain Justin Brownlee for three quarters of the game, the Ginebra import sizzled in the fourth, scoring 8 of his 14 points in the quarter alone.
Brownlee's triple that gave the Gin Kings a 5-point lead with 7:28 to play in the 4th quarter broke the scoring hiatus of the Ginebra import. He was able to tally in a 65-60.
The KaTropa tried with all their might to come close to the Gin Kings especially at the endgame, through the efforts of Jayson Castro, who was able to trim the lead to only 2 points; 74-72 but Ginebra wanted to close the game out with them surviving for another day.
Scottie Thompson quickly made a counter attack that brought the lead back to 4 points; 76-72.
Stanley Pringle added a point on the advantage of the Gin Kings after he splits his free throw from a foul by Pogoy.
"We got one, but obviously it's not a good one. It's a struggle to get one [win] pero buhay pa so we still have life, still moving forward so that's good news. Bad news is it was tough just to get one game," Coach Tim Cone said after the game.
The fourth installment of the best of five semis series between Ginebra and TnT will go back at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on Thursday with the Gin Kings having the chance to force a rubber match unless the KaTropa spoils their goal and closes the series out.
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