Barangay Ginebra nailed all the clutch plays in the final moments of Game 1 to pull out the 91-87 win over the Meralco Bolts. Ginebra jumps out to a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Finals series.
Justin Brownlee led Ginebra on the offensive end dropping 38 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. On the defensive end, it was Japeth Aguilar that came up big. He blocked three shots to go along with his 16 points. LA Tenorio and Stanley Pringle combined for 24 points. Allen Durham did his all to try and lead the Bolts. He finished with a triple-double of 25 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists.
It was a back-and-forth game between both teams all the way to the end. Midway through the third period, Brownlee went on a tear to put Ginebra ahead. From a four-point halftime deficit, Brownlee scored all eight points in an 8-2 run to push Ginebra up by two. That was when Meralco punched back.
Durham, backed by Baser Amer, Raymond Almazan and Chris Newsome answered back with a 14-2 run to take a 10-point lead. Brownlee wouldn’t allow that double-digit lead to stand for long. He led Ginebra on a comeback run to end the third quarter and pull his team to within three heading to the fourth. The game was tight all the way to the final minutes.
In the final three minutes of the game, the two teams traded blows, refusing to give an inch. Newsome scored on a pull-up jumper to put Meralco up by one, but that was quickly answered by a layup from Tenorio. Durham and Brownlee exchanged free throws as Ginebra took a two-point lead with less than 24 seconds left in the game.
Meralco had one last chance to tie the game. They went to their main man Durham who attacked the basket head on. As he rose for the game-tying attempt, he was met at the top by Aguilar to stuffed the attempt. Brownlee recovered the ball and iced the game with two from the line to give Ginebra the win.