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Tim Cone gets fitting birthday gift as Ginebra escapes over Magnolia in 'Clasico' semis opener

Jamie Malonzo stepped up for a struggling Justin Brownlee. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG—Coach Tim Cone got a win on his 65th birthday as Ginebra walked away with an 87-84 win against Magnolia in Game 1 of their PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinal series on Wednesday night at the PhilSports Arena.

Defense and some breaks of the game did the trick for the Gin Kings as they took the opener of their "Manila Clasico" semis despite Justin Brownlee's off night.

The Hotshots had an outright shot at winning the game after Paul Lee hit a three-pointer with 2:36 left to cut the Gin Kings' lead to one, 85-84.

However, Magnolia could not find the go-ahead basket, and Christian Standhardinger converted a jumper with 1:26 remaining to up the lead to three.

The Hotshots had one last crack to force overtime, but Mark Barroca missed a three-point attempt even as Standhardinger secured the game-saving rebound for the Gin Kings after Brownlee missed two free throws at the other end.

Jamie Malonzo put up a playoff career-high 21 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, and three steals, while Scottie Thompson added 16 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and one block for Ginebra.

Brownlee was held to just 11 points, his lowest output since only making 10 in Game 4 of the 2016 Governors' Cup Finals, even as he committed seven turnovers, but he too had 13 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks.

Paul Lee led Magnolia, which still put up a fight despite losing import Nick Rakocevic to an ejection in the third quarter, with 21 points, two rebounds, and two assists.

Aris Dionisio added 12 points and three rebounds, while Rakocevic, Ian Sangalang, and Calvin Abueva each made 10 markers with Abueva also grabbing 12 caroms.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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