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Kings spoil Beermen's grand slam bid

Barangay Ginebra's Justin Brownlee tries to score against San Miguel's Terrence Watson and Chris Ross (partly seen) during their PBA Quarterfinals clash at the MOA Arena, Wednesday night. | PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines -- Barangay Ginebra crushed San Miguel Beer’s grand slam aspiration and made a big step toward achieving its own goal – title repeat – as the Kings reigned over the Beermen, 104-84, in their PBA Governors Cup quarterfinals showdown at the MOA Arena in Pasay City Wednesday night.

The Kings methodically established control in the second quarter and kept the pace through the second half to advance to the best-of-five semifinals, awaiting the winner of the Rain or Shine-TNT KaTropa quarters matchup.

Rain or Shine banked on a torrid outside shooting to build a 20-point lead that proved enough cushion against TNT’s endgame chase as the Elasto Painters topped the Texters, 106-102, to force a sudden death in their showdown.

J’Nathan Bullock fired seven-of-12 three-pointers, Gabe Norwood rifled in four treys while Chris Tiu, Don Trollano and Beau Belga combined for five triples as the E-Painters outgunned Jason Castro and his teammates, thus, foiling the Texters’ first crack at the semis.

The two teams meet again tomorrow in a do-or-die setto.

Meanwhile, top seed Meralco and eighth ranked Blackwater figure in their own knockout tiff at 7 p.m. tonight over at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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Unable to recover from their meltdown in their last game in the elims against the Meralco Bolts, the Beermen couldn’t keep up with the Kings and kissed their Triple Crown bid goodbye.

Justin Brownlee erupted for 37 points and his key local teammates also came through with solid performances as they progressed to the semis of this tourney they won over Meralco last year.

The Kings dealt the Beermen a decisive beating, handing coach Leo Austria and his troops their worst loss in the season.

“Who would have thought we could do that? Nobody saw that coming,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.

“We played great from start to finish and they struggled all game long. It’s the worst time to happen for them. We caught them on our good night and a bad night for them,” Cone added.

Also enjoying a good night were the E-Painters.

“From the beginning, I believe we have a good matchup with them from the import to the locals,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia, expressing high confidence against the Texters that they routed in their elims showdown, 105-73.

Garcia, however, said they have to play a little different in their rubber match if they’re to steal the series from the playoffs second seed.

“We have to do something new. It’s going to be a duel of strategies,” he said.

“Like in this game, (from 20 points down) they were able to adjust. They did something new in the fourth and caught us by surprise,” Garcia added.

The E-Painters were held to four points in the last six minutes of the game, but a free throw each by Maverick Ahanmisi and Norwood at the finish thwarted the Texters’ siege.

Their 16-of-43 three-point shooting early on proved to be the key as the E-Painters lived to play another game.

“I encourage them to take it. I’d rather them take open shots than to turn the ball over,” said Garcia, still finding a lot of able gunners from his roster in the absence of the injury-hit James Yap.

The two-time MVP winner is still doubtful for their next game with a hamstring pull.

Bullock scored a game-high 31 points, with Norwood, Trollano, Tiu, Ahanmisi and Raymond Almazan contributing double-digit outputs as the E-Painters sustained the fire of their big wins over Alaska Milk and Blackwater in the closing part of the elims.

The E-Painters led by 20 at 102-82 before the Texters answered with an 18-2 attack to threaten within four at 100-104 with 40 seconds left to play.

“With the experience of Kelly (Williams) and Jason (Castro), they’re able to come back,” said Garcia.

TNT coach Nash Racela played the combination of Williams, Castro, Troy Rosario, Anthony Semerad and Glen Rice Jr. extended minutes.

The five players scored all but nine of the team’s output.

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