Ginebra needed big numbers from 3 players to eliminate an import-less TNT team
Coach Tim Cone knows one thing: Ginebra will need more of those numbers come the Finals. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Every basketball fan knew that from the moment Glen Rice Jr. got himself ejected after pushing down Ginebra rookie, Kevin Ferrer and even almost hit the latter with the ball, it would have a rippling effect on the flow of the ballgame.
For the fans of the defending champions, an ejected TNT import meant that their team could easily score and take the life out of Nash Racela and the rest of the KaTropa.
Instead, Talk N Text was able to hold onto the lead despite the departure of their import and even built an 18-point lead only to have Ginebra erase it completely as the Gin Kings completely outplayed Jayson Castro and company in the second half which ended with a 115-105 Ginebra win over the fading TNT KaTropa that cemented a Finals rematch between the Gin Kings and the Meralco Bolts.
So, how did the Gin Kings fight they way back to finally eliminate a Talk N Text that was playing an all-Filipino crew? Answer: they needed big numbers from these players to accomplish that feat:
Justin Brownlee- 46 Points
Okay. Let's begin with the most obvious one. The ejection of Glen Rice Jr. benefited one specific Ginebra player the most: Justin Brownlee.
By the end of Game 4, Brownlee compiled 46 points, his new career's best, on 15 of 23 field goal shooting which included 4 makes from the 3-point line. In fact, his 11-0 personal run in the 3rd quarter alone enabled Ginebra to get back into the game. But Brownlee was more than just scoring in last night's victory. Aside from his 46 points, the Ginebra import also grabbed 10 boards and 5 assists while blocking 2 TNT shots in an all-around performance.
LA Tenorio- 25 Points
While his backcourt partner, Scottie Thompson was held scoreless, LA Tenorio stepped like the "Tinyente" we all know used to know and love in the past, and scored 25 big points, many of those points came in during the pivotal second half run of Ginebra which enabled Ginebra to charge back from an 18-point hole. Tenorio's 25 points were highlighted by 6 long-range bombs.
In addition to this, "Tinyente" also had 7 assists, proving that he is still among the elite floor generals we have in the league right now. Although he turned the ball over on 6 occasions, that doesn't change the fact that Tenorio was one of the reasons why Ginebra is back in the PBA Governors' Cup Finals for the second straight year, giving them a shot at winning back-to-back Governors' Cup championships.
Greg Slaughter- 21 Points
With fellow frontline players, Joe Devance and Japeth Aguilar struggling to get anything going on offense, Greg Slaughter, the gentle giant off the bench, made 7 of his 8 shot attempts, on his way to finish the game with 21 points to lead the bench players of both squads. Like Brownlee, Slaughter's 87% field goal shooting can be associated with the absence of Glen Rice Jr. and the subsequently fading away of the defense of Talk N Text, especially in the second half. Slaughter also had an efficient shooting night at the free throw line, making 7 of 9 charities. He also added 9 rebounds and blocked 2 shots in a remarkable defensive effort for the big man from Cebu.
The trio of Brownlee, Tenorio and Slaughter combined for 92 of Ginebra's 115 points. While it's an impressive outing for the three of them, the rest of the Gin Kings need to improve especially with the Finals about to open on Friday. If they will continue to rely on three players to do all the dirty works in the floor against a vastly-improved Meralco team, Ginebra fans are in for a long Finals series.
But knowing Tim Cone, he will find ways to have his team ready despite a shorter preparation period because whether you're a Ginebra fan or not, Tim Cone is one of the reasons why Ginebra was able to win their first championships in 8 years and he will be one of the main reasons why Ginebra is back in the Finals again, facing the same team they've beaten last year.