Ginebra spoils San Miguel’s grand-slam quest

Justin Brownlee kills SMB’s hopes of a grand slam for the second time, detonating for 41 huge points (PBA Media Bureau)

By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

For the second time now, the Ginebra Gin Kings crushed San Miguel Beermen’s hopes of earning a grand-slam after knocking them out of the PBA Governor’s Cup.

With a heartbreaking 100-97 loss, the Beermen’s dramatic season ends in disappointment. The team was already facing adversity with the suspension of their three key players in Kelly Nabong, Ronald Tubid, and Arwind Santos after being involved in a reported brawl in practice.

SMB led by as much as 10 points but the well-orchestrated Ginebra offense was in full display, answering them with a run of their own and taking back the lead several times.

The slugfest continued the whole game as five-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo dominated the shaded area and was not ready to lose, pouring in 24 points despite the double teams Ginebra gave him.

However, coach Tim Cone then negated Fajardo’s defense in the paint after setting up a beautiful pick-and-roll play between Japeth Aguilar and Stanley Pringle.

With the speed Aguilar had, and the shifty Pringle always keeping Fajardo guessing if he will penetrate or lob the ball to Aguilar, coach Leo Austria of SMB then tried to pull out Fajardo and inserted the faster Moala Tautaa.

Brownlee then put the team behind his back as he poured in a barrage of clutch shots within the last 2 minutes that answered every SMB basket.

SMB import John Holland then committed a crucial turnover that prevented them from executing their play and tie the ball game.