PBA: Ginebra cruises past TNT to snag semis series opener, 121-94

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Photo courtesy: PBA Media Bureau

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) - Barangay Ginebra drew first blood against the TNT KaTropa, 121-94, in Game 1 of their best-of-five series in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors' Cup semifinals on Monday evening at the Big Dome.

Justin Brownlee paced Ginebra with 21 points and eight rebounds, while Joe Devance registered 19 markers of his own.

A 10-2 run from Ginebra saw them breakaway from TNT, 27-19, at the 1:24 mark of the opening period.

Ginebra continued to protect the advantage, building a lead as big as 53-41 before going into the halftime interval with a 60-48 cushion.

The halftime break did not do TNT any favors, as Ginebra pushed their lead to 75-53 with 7:36 left in the third frame.

The KaTropa only managed to trim down the deficit to 87-72 before the payoff period, and were not able to find any momentum for the remainder of the game.

Import Glen Rice Jr. led TNT with 26 points and 10 boards in the losing effort.

It was Ginebra who hung their hat on their defensive effort in their beat down of TNT, with their players saying that was the biggest factor in the win.

"I think we came out really aggressive, did well on the defensive end," Ginebra big man Greg Slaughter said. "That's our calling card, just how hard and aggressive we play on defense."

The series goes on the road for Game 2, with Ginebra wary of a TNT squad eager to rectify their Game 1 outing.

"Batangas is going to have a real treat of a game," Ginebra coach Tim Cone added. "I know that they are going to come back real strong and they are going to have an extra edge in their focus coming into the game."

Barangay Ginebra look to press their advantage in Game 2 on Wednesday evening at Batangas City.