The reason why the Meralco Bolts end up at number four seed this 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Quarterfinals round is their defense and they have demonstrated that in their Game 1 duel with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel at the Big Dome two nights ago.
However, the Gin Kings able to find a way especially in the final quarter as they bagged the first victory, 88-81.
It was also Ginebra’s six straight wins and erased their forgetful 1-5 start from their memory in this second conference.
The game was intense as it features eleven deadlocks and nine lead changes but the leadership of Justin Brownlee, Joe Devance and LA Tenorio were significant as they hit crucial baskets and beat the Bolts.
Entering this afternoon’s game, the Gin Kings now have the twice-to-beat advantage and will take its first attempt going to the next round at 4:30 PM.
“Meralco has done a great job playing tough defense all conference, and they turned this game into a defensive struggle. We found it difficult to find rhythm but we got a little bit in the third and we carried it over to the fourth,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
“Justin (Brownlee) was a little rusty today and give Meralco the credit. He put up numbers but he’s a volume shooter tonight,” Cone also said.
Justin Brownlee had what seems-to-be an off-night performance as he shoots terrible from the field with 10-of-26 but still ended up with 25 points. Along with that scoring output, he also had nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks.
Bolts import Arinze Onuaku had difficulty finding his scoring touch inside the paint as he only limited to 12 points. In contrast, his defenders had a combined 37 points output, those were Joe Devance, Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter.
“I expect to see lot more of Arinze in Game Two. He’ll be a bigger presence in the next game,” said Cone.