And they can only blame themselves for it
LA Tenorio had 5 of Ginebra's 19 turnovers in Game 3. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
After winning the first two games of the best-of-7 finals series, a sweep was inevitable for the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. In fact, even after the defending champions dominated the series opener, there were already predictions being made by fans that the Gin Kings would sweep the series and take their second successive Governors' Cup championship in a snap. Nope. No sweep. No celebration for the Gin Kings just yet as the Meralco Bolts found their shooting touch in time for Game 3 and beat the champs, 94-81 to extend this series to a Game 5, to say the least.
There were many things that went terribly wrong for Ginebra but let us focus on the three main reasons that doomed them in Game 3 and their chances for a sweep:
41 Heavy Minutes for Justin Brownlee
Time and again, Game 3 saw the Gin Kings tendency to rely on their import, Justin Brownlee who had to play for 41 minutes last night.
That- despite the fact that Brownlee wasn't shooting efficiently the entire game as he only made 7 of 20 field goals en route to finishing 15 points, his lowest in the series, so far. He also missed 3 of his 4 attempts from deep and also turned the ball over, 3 times.
This failed Ginebra in many ways primarily because it took away the height advantage that the Gin Kings hold against the Bolts as the Twin Towers of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar played for 29 and 28 minutes respectively Although both giants combined for 26 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks, they could have produced more had Tim Cone employed to give them more minutes. But that was Tim Cone's call to make.
In any game of basketball at any given league, you turn the ball over, you lose an opportunity to score and you give your opponents that opportunity to score at the other end. That was what exactly happened last night.
The Bolts forced Ginebra to uncharacteristically commit 19 turnovers which the former converted into 14 points. LA Tenorio had 5 of those miscues. Those 19 turnovers can be looked at two different ways: either Meralco was defending well or, the Gin Kings were occasionally careless every time they had the possession of the orange. Either way, turnovers hurt them in Game 3 and will hurt them tomorrow if they control their turnover number.
10 Offensive Rebounds
One evidence that the Gin Kings failed to take advantage of their height advantage in Game 3: they weren't aggressive in getting those offensive rebounds as they only managed to grab 10 rebounds on the offensive end. The Bolts, smaller team, grabbed 17 offensive boards. The only plus point in this was that Ginebra was the more aggressive team in terms of scoring more on those second chances as evident by their 13-7 advantage in second-chance points.
Make no mistake, folks. The Gin Kings are expected to go all-out come tomorrow's Game 4 and when that happens, the Bolts can only pray that their threes will hit their target because if not, then the balloon and the confetti will fall upon the fans come Game 5 at the Philippine Arena- assuming that Ginebra goes on to win Game 5, too.