Defending champion Barangay Ginebra earned a return trip to the PBA Governors’ Cup after coming from behind to defeat San Miguel Beer, 87-85, for the sweep of their semifinal series on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Christian Standhardinger scored the go-ahead basket off a Justin Brownlee assist with 3.3 seconds left and the Gin Kings marched on to the championship round despite being down by 17 early in the third quarter.
Ginebra, seeking a fifth Governors’ Cup title in the last six editions, will now have the luxury of a long rest while waiting for the other semis pairing between TNT and Meralco to conclude.
The seven-game tussle for the title of the season’s third and final conference starts on April 9.
Brownlee had 22 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and two steals, Scottie Thompson produced 17 points and 11 rebounds, Standhardinger put up 14 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
It was the first sweep Ginebra engineered in a best-of-five series at the expense of a San Miguel side which on the flip side had never been shutout in a similar scenario.
San Miguel was poised to extend the showdown of sister teams to a fourth game when it took a 55-38 lead on a Chris Ross triple.
But Ginebra slowly got its way back behind Brownlee, Standhardinger, Thompson, Jamie Malonzo and Jeremiah Gray, whose three put the Gin Kings ahead 83-82 with less than two minutes to go.
Brownlee’s jumper extended the gap to three but Marcio Lassiter tied things up at 85-all, time down to 26.2 remaining. On the ensuing play, Brownlee found Standhardinger underneath to break the tie as Lassiter couldn’t drain a three before the buzzer.
Import Cameron Clark finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds and CJ Perez produced 14 points but on a 5-of-19 shooting.
WATCH: Happy scenes after Barangay Ginebra advances to the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals after its semis sweep of San Miguel Beer. | @jonasterradoINQ pic.twitter.com/iDMA2KCHiP
— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) March 29, 2023
GINEBRA 87—Brownlee 22, Thompson 17, Standhardinger 14, Gray 13, Malonzo 12, Pinto 4, Pessumal 3, Mariano 2, Pringle 0.
SAN MIGUEL 85—Clark 16, Perez 14, Lassiter 13, Cruz 12, Enciso 11, Tautuaa 6, Herndon 6, Ross 5, Manuel 2.
Quarters: 17-16, 38-50, 58-70, 87-85.
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