PBA Finals: Barangay Ginebra Draws First Blood vs. TNT

2023/04/14

The defending champions, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, drew first blood in their best-of-seven finals series against the TNT Tropang Giga, 102-90, in the PBA Governors' Cup on Sunday, April 9.

The TNT Tropang Giga struggled both on the offense and defense all night. After leading by three in the first few minutes of the first quarter, 8-5, the TNT Tropang Giga played catch-up since then.

PBA Finals: Barangay Ginebra Draws First Blood vs. TNT

In the fourth quarter, Stanley Pringle and Jamie Malonzo's field goals extended the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel's lead to as much as 18, 92-74. With one minute left, TNT Tropang Giga's Marcus Williams cut the deficit to nine, 90-99, but Stanley Pringle quickly shut down the door to seal the victory, 102-90.

PBA Finals: Barangay Ginebra Draws First Blood vs. TNT

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel import Justin Brownlee was unstoppable with another double-double outing of 31 points and 12 rebounds, while Jamie Malonzo recorded 21 points and eight rebounds.

Christian Standhardinger also had a double-double performance of 16 points and 11 rebounds. In contrast, Scottie Thompson, having a stormy night offensively, recorded a triple-double of 10 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists.

PBA Finals: Stanley Pringle provided the spark off the bench with 11 points

On the side of the TNT Tropang Giga, import Rondae Jaquan Hollis-Jefferson erupted for 30 points and 20 rebounds, while Marcus Williams scored 23 points. Calvin Oftana provided support off the bench with 16 points and six rebounds.

The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and the TNT Tropang Giga will face each other again in Game 2 of the best-of-seven finals on Wednesday, April 12.

PBA Finals: Barangay Ginebra Draws First Blood vs. TNT

PBA Recap: All out for the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel

With their win, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel head coach Tim Cone deflected the credit to his players after they played unselfish basketball.

"Guys came out and set a good tone. Then they could carry the fight all the game through," he told reporters after the match.

"We knew coming into this game that TNT is a very tough team. But our mindset was to take the first win. This gives us some sort of a lead, but this doesn't assure us of the series, though.

"This is the Finals, so we're just giving it our all."

For Reigning MVP Scottie Thompson, he said he was playing "unconscious" after recording another triple-double with 10 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists.

"I was unconscious, and we all just played all out for this Game 1. Everyone was aggressive; everyone gave whatever extra possessions they could give the team," he said in Filipino after the match.

"The triple-double is just a bonus."

PBA Finals: Barangay Ginebra Draws First Blood vs. TNT

With Barangay Ginebra San Miguel's main point guard LA Tenorio out as he recovers from a Stage 3 Colon cancer diagnosis, Scottie Thompson saw himself playing in extended minutes. Scottie Thompson played the entire second half in Barangay Ginebra San Miguel's Game 1 win against the TNT Tropang Giga.

"He had to play all 24 minutes of the second half. Before you know it, we just had no time to take him out," coach Tim Cone said of Thomson, who played for 44 minutes.

But for Scottie, they just did what needed to be done, especially on defense since the TNT Tropang Giga had offensive guards.

"We were super focused on defense, especially since TNT is loaded with guards. So us guards, we were focused on that end," he said.

PBA Finals: Barangay Ginebra Draws First Blood vs. TNT

PBA Recap: Jojo Lastimosa cries for help for Hollis-Jefferson

After the loss, TNT Tropang Giga head coach Jojo Lastimosa reminded TNT Tropang Giga big man Poy Erram to keep his emotions under control after he was fouled out early in the fourth quarter.

"Poy has to do a better job controlling his emotions. He's beginning to be a distraction because he's complaining a lot. And we need Poy, we need him, and we need his head to be in the game. Now that Justin is out and Kelly is out, who do we have?" TNT Tropang Giga head coach Jojo Lastimosa said after the match.

Justin Chua's fate is also up in the air after sustaining a minor injury in the first quarter of the match. However, he hoped the injury was nothing serious, especially now that they were playing in the finals.

"The initial check-up is nothing serious. But, of course, I need an MRI; then, we will go from there," he said.

"It's not painful. I just can't straighten it. There's no pain. I've had ACL before, but I can still walk straight. Hopefully, through the days, it will get better."

PBA Finals: Barangay Ginebra Draws First Blood vs. TNT

TNT Tropang Giga's game was also plagued by a misunderstanding between TNT Tropang Giga head coach Jojo Lastimosa and his do-it-all import Rondae Jaquan Hollis-Jefferson in the waning minutes of the game.

Head coach Jojo Lastimosa raised the white flag as he benched Rondae Jaquan Hollis-Jefferson for the second game as the TNT Tropang Giga trailed 87-99.

"Me and Jojo are good. I love the way he coaches. But, for me, that's just passion for the game. I'm out there to play for my teammates, the organization, and the fans," the NBA veteran said about the incident.

Head coach Jojo Lastimosa appreciates Rondae Jaquan Hollis-Jefferson's passion for the game, but they have to be smart, especially in a seven-game series.

"Hats off to him; he doesn't want to come out. But I told him we have to be smart. This is a seven-game series; what if something happens to you? He doesn't understand that part; there's a lot riding for him. And you can't win a series by just winning Game 1. And there's a lot of games to be played."

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