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Jan 17, 2020

Kings back on throne

The Kings are back on the throne.

Barangay Ginebra weathered Meralco's tough final stand, making a big explosion in the final six minutes to finish off the limping but gritty Bolts, 105-93, and reclaim the PBA Governors' Cup crown before a roaring crowd of over 15,000 at the MOA Arena in Pasay City Friday night.

The Kings stepped up as a lethal combo that they are at the finish, with Justin Brownlee, Japeth Aguilar, Stanley Pringle, Aljon Mariano and Scottie Thompson teaming up in a massive attack to end the best-of-seven series in five games.

Aguilar starting a three-point play with a thunderous jam sent the crowd up on their feet and essentially broke Meralco's back as the Kings built a double-digit spread at 96-86 in the homestretch.

And with the Ginebra crowd coming into play, there's no stopping the Kings from completing a mop-up to make it 3-of-3 versus the Bolts in the Ginebra-Meralco trilogy.

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Aguilar topscored with 25 points, Brownlee came up with 24 markers and 10 rebounds while Pringle, Thompson and LA Tenorio produced at least 12 points each as the Kings annexed their fourth crown under coach Tim Cone and 12th in all in franchise history.

In his brightest performance in PBA finals, Aguilar was greatly rewarded with the Honda PBA Press Corps Finals MVP award.

Aguilar, team governor Alfrancis Chua and Cone all acknowledged the crucial boost they got from their sixth man - their diehards - in the fateful Game Five.

"Down by nine, down by six, down by five, pag-sigaw nyo ng Gi-ne-bra! Gi-ne-bra! balik na agad kami," hollered Chua to their fans in the gallery.

"Ang sarap ng regalo nyo sa akin," Chua also said, savoring a championship on his birthday.

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Chua and the players dedicated their latest championship to Brownlee and Pringle.

"For me, Brownlee is the Best Import," said Chua.

Pringle, meanwhile, finally tasted a first PBA championship since his entry into the league as the top draft selection in 2014.

The Fil-Am player out of Penn State had his highlight plays in their breakaway from a slim 86-84 lead.

The Kings, however, took a while before seizing control as they even trailed most of the first half as the Bolts fought furiously even with Raymond Almazan confined back on the bench.

Allen Durham, Baser Amer, Cliff Hodge and Chris Newsome carried the cudgels for the Bolts. A big blow was Hodge needing to sit down three minutes after a flagrant foul penalty one on Aguilar in the 5:19 mark.(SB)

The scores:

Ginebra 105 - Aguilar 25, Brownlee 24, Pringle 17, Thompson 14, Tenorio 12, Mariano 6, Devance 3, Dela Cruz 2, Slaughter 2, Dillinger 0.

Meralco 93 - Durham 29, Amer 17, Newsome 13, Hodge 10, Quinto 9, Maliksi 9, Faundo 2, Pinto 2, Caram 2, Salva 0.

Quarterscores: 19-26, 40-46, 70-64, 105-93