In many a hotly contested championship match decided by a best-of series of games, the moment the competing teams start trading victories with each other – Team A winning Game 1, Team B winning Game 2, A winning 3 and so on – it can mean that the two sides are probably even in strength, skill and determination. At least that is what might be perceived in how the Best-of-7 championship for the 2019 PBA Governor’s Cup is now going. With Barangay Ginebra winning the first game and the Meralco Bolts taking the second, it stands to trending that Game 3 would go to the Gin Kings.
And indeed it has, according to The Philippine Star. For the third game of this concluding season’s Best-of-7 Governor’s Cup Finals, held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum this past Sunday, January 12, the Barangay Ginebra went give-take-give with the Meralco Bolts in wins. Of course, such an outcome could perhaps only be assured for Ginebra if something terrible – gameplay-wise – happened to the Meralco lineup. But as it turns out, such a misfortune did befall the Bolts right out of the first quarter when Raymond Almazan took a bad spill to put him out of action.
Of course, it would not be the Meralco Bolts under Norman Black if they just keeled over with the injury-loss of one man. They at least kept their deficit to Ginebra down to a measly one point at the end of Q1 (42-43). But the Barangay could smell blood in the hard-court and were ready to exploit it. With Justin Brownlee (24 points), Stanly Pringle and Japeth Aguilar (44 points together) on scoring duties, the Gin Kings worked up to a 20-point lead over the Bolts by Q3 (78-58). While Allen Durham and Chris Newsome did their level best to keep up, the tide would be against them this time.
Durham was at the head of a desperate rush for Meralco that put them at only five points behind Barangay Ginebra (82-87) 4 seconds before the Last Two Minutes. Unfortunately LA Tenorio dashed all hopes of the Bolts flipping the lead when he shot a 3-pointer at 1:47 left in Q4. Meralco only managed two more points beyond that point while the Gin Kings blazed ahead to win Game 3 with the Final score, 92-84. Despite Durham’s 23 and Newsome’s 24 points for their team, Meralco had no choice but to write this encounter off.
Now the Bolts will have to aim for payback at Game 4 of the 2019 Governor’s Cup. They will have two days off before the next chapter of the Best-of-7 series this coming Wednesday, January 15, at the same venue.
Image courtesy of ESPN TV5