Updated 17:05 PM PHT Mon, October 17, 2016
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Barangay Ginebra is now just one win away from ending an eight-year title drought after getting the better of the Meralco Bolts, 92-81, in Game 5 the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup Finals on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Justin Brownlee paced Ginebra with 29 points, while Japeth Aguilar chipped in with 16 of his own.
A dominant first quarter saw the Gin Kings jump to a sizable 33-19 cushion over the Bolts.
Meralco could not stem the tide in the second frame as the Gin Kings continued their dominance by taking a 54-39 lead into the second half.
After trailing by as much as 21 in the first half, the Bolts were able to trim the deficit down to 68-59 off a Allen Durham free throw in the third frame.
But the Gin Kings managed to stretch the lead to 73-59 before the payoff period.
A Jimmy Alapag triple at the 5:12 mark of the fourth quarter saw the lead shrink down to 79-71.
Reynel Hugnatan buried a couple of free throws to trim the deficit to 82-77 with 3:03 left to play, but a Sol Mercado triple gave Ginebra a double-digit edge once again, 87-77.
The Bolts refused to bow down as Chris Newsome sank a jumper to get his team within six.
Scottie Thompson answered the call for the Gin Kings by draining a three of his own to extend the lead 90-81 with 46 ticks left on the clock.
That would prove to be too much for Meralco, which now trail 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.
Allen Durham led Meralco with 20 points, while Reynel Hugnatan added 17.
Game 5 saw the biggest margin of victory by either team in the series.
“Things kind of came together for us tonight, and that is the first time that happened in the series,” Ginebra coach Tim Cone said.
With the Gin Kings a win away from the crown, the veteran coach bared how difficult the next game will be.
“Closing the series is the hardest thing to do. Closing the series is harder than a Game 7,” Cone bared. “A great team with its back on the wall is really hard to beat.”
Barangay Ginebra will look to secure the championship in Game 6 on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.