BARANGAY Ginebra San Miguel leaned on its never-say-die attitude to complete a come-from-behind 87-85 win over San Miguel Beer and return to the finals of the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Christian Standhardinger scored a basket underneath off a Justine Brownlee assist with just four seconds left to shatter an 85-all deadlock before SMB’s Marcio Lassiter muffed a potential game-tying lay-up at the buzzer that could send the game into overtime.
Despite being down by 44-62 in the early part of the third period, the Gin Kings mounted a strong comeback in the last period where they unleashed a blazing 29-15 run to sweep their best-of-five semifinals series. Brownlee took charge with 22 points, 14 rebounds and four assists, while Scottie Thompson added 17 points and 11 rebounds, Standhardinger made 14 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Gin Kings.
Grand slam coach Tim Cone of Ginebra admitted the sweep wasn’t easy as expected. “Certainly different from the first two games – it’s a real struggle,” Cone said.
“I was ready to give up on that sweep at various times of the game. But the players wouldn’t quit. If I may borrow from coach Sonny Jaworski, it’s NSD, never-say-die, at its finest.”
Jeremiah Grey and Jamie Malonzo contributed 13 and 12 points apiece for Ginebra. “Every timeout I was looking into their eyes, at their body language to see if they’re ready to pack it in and go fight on Friday. But I never saw it so I stayed with them. We made a couple of big shots and nice stops and before we knew it, we won the game,” Cone added.
SMB import Cameron Clark finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, but couldn’t save the Beermen from being swept by the defending champion.
Ginebra is now waiting for the winner between TNT Tropang Giga and Meralco in the other semifinal round.