July 22, 2018, 11:38 pm
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Kings oust Bolts, reach semis

WITH Justin Brownlee and LA Tenorio leading a balanced attack, Ginebra repulsed Meralco last night 104-90 and advanced to the semifinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Brownlee scored a game-high 36 points on top of nine rebounds while Tenorio made the biggest plays down the stretch that enabled the Kings to quash a last-ditch Bolts uprising and complete a two-game sweep of their quarterfinals duel.

Next up for Ginebra is the winner of the Rain or Shine-GlobalPort tussle, set to be decided today, in a best-of-five duel that should start over the weekend.

The victory was the seventh straight for the Kings and the semis stint their sixth straight.

Coach Tim Cone remained on pins and needles, saying: “So we’re through, that’s the good news. Now we’re able to sit and watch Rain or Shine play GlobalPort tomorrow and we’ll start preparing for that series.

“It’s a blessing and a curse. A blessing since we have the momentum, playing well. But it’s also a curse because at some point you’ve got to come down from the mountain. Let’s see if we can stay on the mountain,” he added.

The loss was the third straight in a series for Meralco against Ginebra, including their last two Governors Cup title duels.

Arinze Onuaku had 21 points and 13 rebounds, but tallied only five of his points in the second half against the alternating defense thrown at him by Greg Slaughter, Joe Devance and Japeth Aguilar.

Chris Newsome rebounded from a two-point output in the opener with 17 points, while Baser Amer and Reynel Hugnatan wound up with at least 10 each.

Ginebra’s attack was more open-ended with Tenorio, Slaughter, Sol Mercado, Jeff Chan and Devance all chipping in, resulting in a couple of 18-point spreads, the last at 85-67.

Meralco mustered one last run anchored on Newsome and Amer that put the Bolts within 81-87, still 4:52 left.

Tenorio then came up with a corner triple, stole the ball and fed Brownlee for a dunk that sparked the Kings’ endgame push.

“LA’s 3, his steal and assist, that’s the game right there,” said Cone. “It’s just LA being LA. Such a big moment guy.” 
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