Ginebra on cusp of finals return with squeaker over TNT

MANILA — Ginebra moved to within striking distance of a PBA Governors’ Cup finals rematch with Meralco, after a 106-103 win over TNT in Game 3 of the semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday night.

In a wild encounter that even saw emotions running high, especially at halftime when KaTropa coach Nash Racela and Barangay Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua had a heated exchange of words, it was crucial follow-ups that helped the Barangay take a 2-1 lead over the KaTropa in the best-of-five series.

Down 96-98, Ginebra went on a 7-0 run, capped by a putback from Joe Devance, to advance 103-98.

After Glen Rice Jr. hit two free throws, Devance again scored on a follow-up to up the gap to five, 105-100, with 32.6 seconds left.

Rice tried to go for a layup but was blocked. He got the ball back and aimed for an attack that was missed. He would be called for a delay of game technical foul after he grabbed the offensive rebound while still hanging on to the rim.




Justin Brownlee sank the ensuing technical free throw for a 106-100 count with 27 seconds to go.

However, the Barangay still needed some luck in the end.

Devance had a chance to seal the win as he was left wide open for a layup, but he botched the shot and Rice scored on a three-pointer in the ensuing play to cut the lead down to three.

Scottie Thompson then missed two crucial free throws, and Japeth Aguilar tapped the loose ball out, giving the KaTropa five seconds to force overtime.

Rice got a good look at the basket, but his trey rimmed out as time expired.

Devance finished with 20 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two blocks for Ginebra, which can seal the other finals berth on Sunday night back at the Big Dome.

Brownlee and Thompson each added 17 markers with both players getting double-doubles after grabbing 13 and 12 boards, respectively.

Rice came up with a 44-point, 20-rebound, and six-assist performance, but the explosion went down the drain.

Box Scores:

Ginebra 106: Devance 20, Slaughter 19, Thompson 17, Brownlee 17, Tenorio 16, Aguilar 8, Mercado 7, Ferrer 2.

TNT 103: Rice 44, Castro 17, Semerad 10, Williams 10, Pogoy 7, Rosario 7, Golla 3, Reyes 3, Seigle 2, Nuyles 0, Tautuaa 0, Chua 0

Quarter scores: 31-26, 60-49, 85-80, 106-103 PNA-northboundasia.com