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Ginebra Blows an 18-Point Lead, Still Wins to Move One Win Away from Title

Greg Slaughter proved why he is the Best Player of the Conference


Greg Slaughter silenced his critics with his huge double-double performance. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

There are two reasons why this best-of-7 series needed a Game 5 at the Philippine Arena. One: Ginebra won first two games. Second: they lost the next two against the smaller Bolts.

Historically speaking, whoever wins Game 5 when the series is tied at 2-2 will go on to win the championship. After Game 5, one team will go home needing to only win the next game to finally win it all.

They established an 18-point lead in the second quarter. They allowed Meralco to come back and even momentarily take the lead in the third quarter. In the end, the defending champions, Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings were able to regain control in the 4th quarter and consequently, regain the lead in the series as they won 85-74 over the Meralco Bolts, only needing one more win to clinch the championship.

Tinyente is Back!


The Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings started Game 5 with a 6-0 run, 4 points from LA Tenorio who was held scoreless in Game 4.  The Meralco Bolts, like they were in the previous four games of the series, were struggling to put the ball into the basket for the first 4 minutes of the first quarter until Allen Durham made the Bolts' first basket with a contested lay-up. The defending champs held a 6-point cushion during most of the opening quarter until Meralco started chipping away and cut down the deficit at 12-10 on Cliff Hodge's lay-up with under 4 minutes to play, leading to a Ginebra timeout. Right after a Ginebra miss, Reynel Hugnatan drained an open three-pointer to give Meralco its first taste of the lead, something LA Tenorio did on the other end to make it 15-13 in the favor of the crowd darlings. Ginebra held onto the lead, at 21-15 to finish the first quarter. LA Tenorio exploded for 9 points after going 0 of 7 in the previous game.

Ginebra's Second Quarter Rampage


Greg Slaughter and Mark Caguioa teamed up in the opening minutes of the second quarter to give Ginebra an 11-point lead as the Bolts settled for mostly outside shots which were missing the mark, terribly. A three-pointer from Joe Devance made it 29-15 which forced a timeout from Norman Black as his team was held scoreless for almost 3 minutes.Chris Newsome finally broke the Bolts' silence with a long one from deep.

Meralco Charged Back

Meralco went on a scoring run which was highlighted by an Allen Durham Dunk to trim down the champs' lead to 11, at 35-24. Then, Garvo Lanete drained a rare long one for Meralco to bring the Bolts with 7, at 36-29 with 2:11 on the clock. Jared Dillinger hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the first half to trim the deficit to 42-35 at the intermission

The Numbers at the Break


LA Tenorio and Greg Slaughter each had 9 points after the first two quarters for Ginebra who led despite only making 36% of their shot attempts and 20% of their shots from beyond the 3-point line was also the reason why their 18-point lead quickly evaporated.

As usual, it was Allen Durham yet again, shone the brightest for Meralco in the first with his 12 points as the Bolts only shot 31% from the field. Fortunately, it was their three-point shooting which brought them back in the game as Meralco dropped 5 long bombs of their 19 attempts.  

Meralco's Electrifying Third Quarter


Meralco was able to sustain their shooting touch to open the second half with 7 points to come within 2, 44-42 during the first 3 minutes of the third quarter, a scoring run which was highlighted by another trey from the old man Reynel Hugnatan. LA Tenorio later put things back in control for the Gin Kings as he drained another jumper plus a driving lay-up to reestablish a 9-point lead. 

The Bolts then went on an 8-0 run to come within 1, at 56-55 with under 5 minutes to play in the third. After a Japeth Aguilar dunk, Garvo Lanete added another one from long distance to tie things up at 58 apiece and Allen Durham picked up his own miss and scored to make it 60-58, in favor of the Bolts as a visibly upset Tim Cone called a timeout.The  Gin Kings still held a 66-62 lead heading into the final quarter as Allen Durham scored 11 points in the entire third quarter.

Ginebra Regained Control. For Good


Ginebra went back to work as their defense shut down Meralco while building an 8-point advantage with under 9 minutes to play. But, Meralco quickly woke up from their nap as Allen Durham and company came within 74-70 on Chris Newsome's basket.

However, a 3-point play from Justin Brownlee and a pair of charities from Greg Slaughter put the Gin Kings up, 79-70 as Norman Black was already complaining about the calls from the officials. A Greg Slaughter basket gave a double-digit lead for the Gin  Kings as Meralco was beginning to go back to their bad habit of fading away late in the game. LA Tenorio later scored on the inside to give Ginebra a 13-point advantage heading into the final 2 minutes of the game. 

The Numbers


Justin Brownlee led the way for the Gin Kings with his 20 points and 12 rebounds but it was Greg Slaughter's 17 points, 15 rebounds and 6 blocks that made the difference for the Gin Kings. LA Tenorio also scored 17 as Ginebra won despite only making 3 of their 22 attempts from rainbow country. 

Allen Durham had 27 points and 19 rebounds to lead the Bolts as Garvo Lanete played his best game in the series, so far, to score 11 points off the bench but nobody else scored significantly for Meralco which was one of the primary reasons why they one loss away from another disappointing Final defeat. 


Scores:

Ginebra
Brownlee 20, Slaughter 17, Tenorio 17, Devance 12, J. Aguilar 8, Thompson 5, Caguioa 4, Ferrer 2.

Meralco
Durham 27, Lanete 11, Hugnatan 8, Caram 7, Hodge 6, Dillinger 6, Newsome 5, Amer 4, Tolomia 0, Faundo 0.

Quarter scoring:

21-15, 42-35, 66-62, 85-74

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