The first shots in the final showdown for the PBA Governor’s Cup title of the 2019 season were fired last Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Meralco Bolts and the Barangay Ginebra have been waiting for this moment after missing out on the All-Filipino and Commissioner’s Cups earlier last year. For Game 1, a likely problem plaguing both teams was a certain difficulty in landing three-point shots, an oddity considering these two squads ranked the top 2 in 3-point shooting percentage for the Governor’s Cup conference. Bolts head coach Norman Black has hoped that his players have limbered up despite their Game 1 loss, and Game 2 affirms it.
Inquirer.net has it that Ginebra and Meralco have both loosened up and intensified their play for Game 2 of the season’s Governor’s Cup finals. At the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City this Friday evening, January 10, the Bolts managed to foil the Barangay’s plans for a first-game sweep to get the title, with a high-scoring hard-fought victory featuring scores in the triple digits. And this time, the three-point gods were feeling a bit more merciful, if Baser Amer of the Bolts sinking a couple of them to keep his team’s lead over Ginebra towards the endgame is any indication.
That was some splendid work from Amer, and a sign of his intense focus despite any setbacks in his way, since in the early quarters he got repeat fouls. His teammates pulled their own weight as well, such as Allen Durham contributing a solid point share of 21 plus 18 rebounds. In fact, most of Meralco’s starting lineup worked together to get 15 points combined, which helped establish a lead that lasted for the first half. Barangay Ginebra tried to strike back in Q3, but the Bolts turned the tables anew and finished with 104-102.
To be fair, the other side did fight their hardest to make the series 2-0, with Ginebra import Justin Brownlee giving a meaty 35 points and 11 rebounds to his squad’s table. Not far behind him is Stanley Pringle with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Their efforts however were for naught as Meralco ties the Best-of-7 for the 2019 Governor’s Cup at 1 game all. That it had to happen at Lucena, where the Barangay Ginebra enjoyed a kind of home-court advantage due to winning five of their six previous PBA games there, was even more of an unfortunate loss.
The battle for the PBA Governor’s Cup will continue this coming Sunday, January 12, back at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Image courtesy of Rappler