August 08, 2018

Kings humble Beermen, bag third crown in six conferences

Barangay Ginebra faced tough tests all tournament long, including a mountain to climb in the finale.

The Gin Kings hurdled them all and ended up hoisting the PBA Commissioner's Cup crown before a roaring crowd of over 20,000 at the MOA Arena in Pasay City Wednesday night.

Justin Brownlee and Scottie Thompson churned out wondrous showings and led the Kings to a 93-77 conquest of the San Miguel Beermen for their third crown in the last six conferences.

And Ginebra coach Tim Cone will have the same cast as they chase a three-peat in the season-ending Governors Cup starting Aug. 17 at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.

The question is who can stop Ginebra?

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Brownlee and Thompson once again combined with Greg Slaughter, Joe Devance and LA Tenorio, packing a wallop that sent the mighty SMB team down on its knees.

And thus while Ginebra made it 3-of-3 in PBA finals in the last six conferences, San Miguel suffered its first defeat in seven finals over the last four years.

Brownlee was ecstatic in leading the Kings to another title run.

"It feels great. It's always fantastic to win. It's a wonderful feeling," said Brownlee of his successful rides in the local pro league.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone couldn't believe they would achieve the feat with their scrambling 1-5 start in the tourney and their back-to-back blowout losses to fall down 1-2 in the title series.

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"For us to recover and win three in a row, I'm speechless. It's on the players," said Cone, now a 21-time champion coach in the PBA, three times with Ginebra.

The brilliant Ginebra coach also credited their sixth man - the crowd.

"You made the big difference. We came back because of you. You kept pushing us, and so we're back as champs," said Cone in addressing the crowd during the awards rites.

With his big performances in the last two games and his solid averages of 10.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists, Thompson won the Finals MVP award.

Brownlee went almost unstoppable, coming through with 31 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists in a near triple-double game while Thompson had his electrifying game with 13 big rebounds that went with 12 markers and five dish-offs as they won the best-of-seven series at 4-2.

Greg Slaughter once again held his own against June Mar Fajardo while LA Tenorio and Joe Devance also played key roles as the Kings made a searing breakaway from a 35-38 down at the half. (SB)