Gin Kings dispose of Bolts in Game 5, win PBA Governors' Cup title
Olmin Leyba ( - January 17, 2020 - 9:38pm

MANILA, Philippines -- Time to raise the glass, the Kings have returned!

After a year of absence, Barangay Ginebra reclaimed the PBA Governors' Cup throne Friday night to loud cheers at a packed Mall of Asia Arena, shutting off the Raymond Almazan-less Meralco Bolts once and for all with a 105-93 closeout .

The Gin Kings were forced to play catchup most of the way by a Meralco side desperately fighting for dear life, but energized by chants of "Gi-neb-ra, Gi-neb-ra"  from majority of the 17,378-strong crowd, unleashed their trademade never-say-die spirit to steal the clinching win.

Justin Brownlee was doing it all, scoring, rebounding, assisting. Stanley Pringle was making spectacular shots. Japeth Aguilar, the eventual Honda PBA Press Corps Finals MVP, was a rock in the interior, dunking and swatting shots. LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson were hitting timely buckets.

Coach Tim Cone and his charges simply didn't want to let it slip away and give Meralco a sliver of hope.

"I felt at halftime, when we're able top bring down their (14-point) lead to six, we had a chance to come back and win the game... We were very sluggish early but when we made that little run at the end of the half, that gave us a lift (heading to the finish) and that was the key," said triumphant coach Tim Cone, now tied with the legendary Robert Jaworski as Ginebra's winningest with four titles.

As with their previous triumphs, the Gin Kings unravellled another huge third quarter to swing the momentum their way.

Brownlee dropped 10 and Thompson and Tenorio made five apiece as Ginebra outduelled Meralco in the penultimate period, 30-18, seize the upperhand, 70-64, after falling behind by 14 in the second canto.

Aguilar (25-8 with four blocks), Brownlee (24-7-10), first time PBA champ Pringle (17-4-8), Thompson (14-9-6) and Tenorio (12) delivered the coup de grace for Ginebra, which is now 3-0 finals showdowns with Meralco.

"Our guys played great. To beat a team like Meralco three straight, that's really something," said Cone.

Allen Durham posted 29-21-8 for Meralco, whose bid was hurt by the lateral meniscus tear (left knee) that hit Almazan in Game 3. The 6-foot-8 Almazan still played Game 4 but sat it out last night.

Facing life or death, the Bolts played with so much urgency and purpose.

Allein Maliksi fuelled a 10-2 blast to end the first, giving the Bolts a 26-19 cushion. Baser Amer found his range and rifled in eight in the second, helping Black's charges to a 39-25 margin at one point and 46-35 at the 2:08 mark.

Ginebra chipped it down within a six at the turn and picked up from there.

It is Ginebra coach Tim Cone's 22nd PBA title overall.

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