By Adrian Stewart Co
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings kicked off its title retention bid with a come-from-behind 80-77 triumph over Alaska Aces in the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup on Sunday night at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Justin Brownlee tallied 28 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks, while Japeth Aguilar chipped in 11 markers for the Kings, which were the champions in the last Governors’ Cup held in 2019.
But, just like in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, the Kings were a picture of struggle the entire game and were behind 71-64 midway in the fourth quarter before mounting a huge fight back.
Back-to-back hits by Earl Scottie Thompson and Justin Brownlee and a free throw by Christian Standhardinger pulled the Kings to within 69-71 before the Aces widened the edge for the last time at 73-69 on a Maverick Ahanmisi basket.
Six straight points from Stanley Pringle and Brownlee gave Barangay Ginebra the upperhand at 75-73 with 40 seconds left. LA Tenorio and Brownlee then secured the win with their free throws.
Oluseyi Ashaolu had double-double 19 points and 18 rebounds, Robbie Herndon added 12 markers, while Ahanmisi and Jeron Teng had 10 points each as the Aces tasted its first loss in three games.
In the first game, San Miguel Beermen survived a late rally by the NorthPort Batang Pier to score a 91-88 victory. The Beermen improves to 1-2, while the Batang Pier dropped to 0-3.
Brandon Brown led the way with 24 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists and June Mar Fajardo and Jaymar Perez added 15 markers apiece for the Beermen. Robert Bolick Jr. led the Batang Pier with 24 points./ASC, WDJ