Defending champions Barangay Ginebra San Miguel got off to a rousing start in their finals return, shutting down Meralco, 102-87, to take Game One of the best-of-seven Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup championship series on Friday at Quezon Convention Center.
Justin Brownlee erupted for 32 points, 19 rebounds and six assists to lead Ginebra in its finals rematch against Meralco which it beat last year in six games.
Japeth Aguilar added 15 points, while Greg Slaughter chipped in 14 points and eight boards as Ginebra’s size was simply too much for the Bolts.
Leading Best Import nominee Allen Durham finished with 27 points, 14 rebound and eight assists in the losing effort.
The Gin Kings played superb defense against the Bolts for the whole game, making life hard for Durham with their switching scheme.
It also didn’t help that the Bolts shot poorly from downtown–they just shot two-for-17 from that area in the first half where Ginebra led by as many as 17 points.
Meralco found some rhythm in at the end of the third quarter, trimming its deficit to four points, 75-71, after Mike Tolomia sparked a rally that he capped with a four-point play.
But the Gin Kings maintained their poise and regained control, pushing their lead to as high as 21, 96-75, after a 19-4 fourth quarter run that the Bolts couldn’t recover from.
Game Two is scheduled on Sunday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.