Ginebra returns with win, SMB stays undefeated

By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno

February 6 2023, 8:55 am

MANILA – Ginebra opened its title defense in the PBA Governors' Cup on a high note after drubbing Rain Or Shine, 116-108, on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

With 10,080 fans witnessing their return to action after ruling the Commissioner's Cup, the Gin Kings gave their faithful something to smile about as they quickly bounced back from the Elasto Painters' early fourth-quarter attack and went on a huge 11-0 run that kept them the lead for good.

Justin Brownlee put up a triple-double of 29 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists, while Scottie Thompson added 15 points, eight rebounds, and five assists for Ginebra, which began a stretch of six games in 15 nights before the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.

Michael Qualls made 23 points, five rebounds, two assists, and one steal, while Beau Belga added 21 points, six rebounds, two assists, and one steal for ROS, which dropped to a tie with NorthPort at the bottom of the team standings at 0-4.

Earlier in the night, San Miguel survived a last-gasp from Magnolia for a 100-98 win.

The Beermen, leading 100-91 then, let the Hotshots go on a 7-0 run to cut the lead down to two.

CJ Perez, a steady free-throw shooter, then missed two charities with 10 seconds left, giving his opponent a chance to steal the game.

With no timeout left, however, the Hotshots settled for a Paul Lee triple that only rimmed out as the final buzzer sounded.

Clark finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one block, while Marcio Lassiter added 18 points, all on triples, four rebounds, four assists, and one block for SMB, who tied NLEX Road Warriors and Converge at the top in the team standings at 4-0.

Lee made 19 points, two rebounds, four assists, and two steals for Magnolia, who remained winless at 0-3 but just above ROS and NorthPort at the cellar. (PNA)