The defending champions Barangay Ginebra San Miguel barely escaped the NLEX Road Warriors, 114-111, thanks to Jeremiah Gray's late three points in the ongoing PBA Governors Cup.
With four seconds remaining, the NLEX Road Warriors still maintain a two-point lead after Kevin Alas's layup and foul, 111-109. Barangay Ginebra San Miguel import Justin Brownlee's three-point attempt missed but thankfully, Jamie Malonzo secured the rebound as they reset their play.
With Scottie Thompson handling the ball, he dished out an assist to Jeremiah Gray for a three-point basket as they snatch the lead, 112-111. With three seconds to go, NLEX Road Warriors Kris Rosales fouled Justin Brownlee.
Unfortunately, Justin Brownlee successfully shot his two free throw attempts as they extended their lead to three, 114-111. In the dying seconds of the game, NLEX Road Warriors new import Wayne Anthony Selden, Jr. tried to extend the match to overtime to no avail.
With the win, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel currently stays on top of the standing with 2 wins and 0 losses while the NLEX Road Warriors suffered their first defeat in five games.
It's just an ordinary night for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel import Justin Brownlee as he recorded another double-double with 44 points and 16 rebounds with six assists. He had help from Jeremiah Gray who scored 19 points.
Scottie Thompson added 12 points and 10 assists while Stanley Pringle contributed 10 points off the bench. Barangay Ginebra San Miguel starters Japeth Aguilar and Jamie Malonzo had nine points apiece.
For the side of the NLEX Road Warriors, Wayne Anthony Selden, Jr. had 43 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists in his PBA Debut as he replaced Jonathon Simmons who needed to go back to his mother team in China.
NLEX Road Warriors team captain Kevin Alas had a big 22 points and six rebounds off the bench while Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser had a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
PBA Recap: Barangay Ginebra Dominates Rebound, Assist Departments
Looking at the statistics, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel dominated the defensive aspect of the match. The team recorded 57 rebounds, higher compared to NLEX Road Warriors' 38.
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel's triangle offense is also in full effect as the team recorded 29 assists compared to 18 of the NLEX Road Warriors.
However, the NLEX Road Warriors had a much better field goal efficiency with 47% compared to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel's 44%. The NLEX Road Warriors also had a better two-point efficiency with 55% compared to 45% of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
In fact, the NLEX Road Warriors shoot more free throws, almost double the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel's 19 shots. The NLEX Road Warriors recorded more steals with 8 alongside five blocks. They managed to limit their turnovers to seven compared to 11 of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
Unfortunately, the NLEX Road Warriors still can't crack the code of coach Tim Cone and the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, especially since they have been playing with each other for years already.
PBA Recap: Wayne Anthony Selden's Apology and Jeremiah Gray's Performance
After the match, NLEX Road Warriors import Wayne Anthony Selden apologized as he took the blame for his team's collapse against the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel. At the eighth-minute mark of the fourth quarter, the NLEX Road Warriors is leading as much as 12, their highest in the game.
“We missed opportunities to get stops. Gave up a couple of threes. We gotta be better to close the game. We gotta be able to finish the game. We ran out of gas,” Wayne Anthony Selden said to the press after the game.
“I have a responsibility to the team, to the staff, to the coaches to be as good as I can be, and be a leader. Got a little tired down the stretch tonight, but it's no excuse. The next game, I'll have more energy, for sure.”
Despite the team's first loss, Wayne Anthony Selden, who had experience playing in the NBA, still sees a lot of potential for his team.
“We got a lot of potentials. That's a great group of guys. I'm happy with the guys. We worked hard tonight. Just made a couple of mistakes on defense and I know we'll be better next game.”
Before he left the PBA, NLEX Road Warriors first import, Jonathon Simmons, had been averaging 36.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. Although Wayne Anthony Selden can continue carrying Jonathon Simmons' load, the team still ran out of gas against the defending champions.
On the side of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, the hero of the match was rookie Jeremiah Gray, whose triple in the dying minutes of the match sealed the deal for the defending champions.
According to Jeremiah, he's making sure to prove his spot in the PBA All-Star Game which will happen in March. Jeremiah Gray was in 17th place in the polls with over 140,000 votes from the fans.
“I don't think I really earned it yet, but Imma use this conference this time to make sure I solidify my spot,” he said after his team's victory.
Before playing for the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Jeremiah was a 3X3 star of TNT Tropang Giga before suffering an ACL injury.
“The journey was very tough, very tough for me. But I feel like it made me better, made me a lot more grateful, and luckily I have a good supporting cast with my family,” he said.
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel head coach Tim Cone, the winningest coach in league history, also had some nice words for his guard.
“Miah is having a coming-out party this conference. Last game, I thought he was brilliant, and tonight he was even more brilliant. So, he's starting to show what he can do,” Coach Tim Cone told reporters.
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel will face the NorthPort Batang Pier on Friday, February 10, while the NLEX Road Warriors will have a long break before they take on the Magnolia Chicken Timplado Hotshots on Thursday, February 16.