PBA: Ginebra retakes semis series lead over TNT in heated contest, 106-103

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Photo courtesy of PBA Media Bureau

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 6) — Barangay Ginebra stole back the series lead over the TNT KaTropa, 106-103, in their Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors' Cup semifinal series on Friday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

Ginebra is now leads the best-of-five series, two games to one.

Joe Devance paced Ginebra in scoring with 20 markers, while Scottie Thompson posted a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds.

There was little doubt that both teams were hungry for the victory, with tempers flaring throughout the contest.

Ginebra touted a 60-48 advantage with 45 seconds left to play in the first half, before TNT drained a free throw to go into the break trailing 60-49.

The heat on the court spilled over into the tunnel leading to the teams' dugouts, with security and staff having to separate Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua and TNT head coach Nash Racela.

 

What transpired at halftime seemed to have spurred on the KaTropa, which trimmed down the deficit to as low as 82-80 with 1:06 left before the payoff period.

TNT finally fought its way into the driver's seat after Kelly Williams drained a bucket, 91-89, at the 7:04 mark of the fourth quarter.

With 2:40 left to play, Justin Brownlee drained a trey that gave Ginebra a precarious 99-98 cushion.

A pair of Glen Rice Jr. free throws got TNT within 103-100 with 1:27 left in regulation, but Devance got an offensive rebound and a bucket to give Ginebra a 105-100 advantage with 33 seconds left.

Rice Jr. wouldn't let Ginebra rest, draining a three pointer with 14 seconds left to make it 106-103.

With the pressure on at seven ticks left to play, Thompson missed both free throw attempts that would've gifted Ginebra the game.

Fortunately for Thompson, his misses weren't punished as TNT failed to convert on their last gasp effort

Rice Jr. led all scorers with 44 markers and 20 rebounds, while Jayson Castro added on 17 points and nine assists.

The victory gives Ginebra a little breathing room, forcing TNT into a do-or-die situation in Game 4. But Ginebra coach Tim Cone isn't letting his guard down.

"The series isn't over, the series isn't won," Cone said. "It does give us the lead in the series, which is nice to have, but it's not a safe one."

"The job isn't done yet, we still have a lot of work to do," Cone added.

Game 4 will be played on Sunday at the Big Dome.