March 30 ------ CHRISTIAN Standhardinger scored on a short stab off a Justin Brownlee assist to complete Barangay Ginebra's comeback from 18 points down against San Miguel, 87-85, and a sweep of their 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series.
Standhardinger was there to finish the play after Brownlee drove to the basket and drew a double team, leaving the leading Best Player of the Conference candidate wide open inside for the basket that broke an 85-85 deadlock with four seconds left. The game-winning play before cheering fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum enabled Ginebra to advance to the finals via sweep of a best-of-five series for the first time in franchise history, keeping its title-retention bid on track.
Marcio Lassiter missed the game-tying basket in the game's final play as San Miguel suffered the ignominy of being swept in a best-of-five series for the first time in the franchise's long, proud history. The Gins will face either Meralco or TNT in the finals.
Brownlee compiled 22 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, and two steals, while Standhardinger added 14 points and 17 rebounds for the Gin Kings, who also got a major boost from Jeremiah Gray. The rookie gunner scored 13 points including a three-pointer with 1:57 left to give Ginebra the lead, 83-82. Gray also nailed a three to start a 24-9 finishing lick for his team that wiped out a 76-63 SMB spread. Ginebra extended the lead to three after the Gray three but Lassiter tied the contest with a trey of his own, 85-85, with 26.2 seconds left.
Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone lauded the fighting spirit of his team in achieving the sweep, which he described as a mission that is “impossible” considering the depth of San Miguel. “The players wouldn’t quit,” said Cone. “If I may borrow from Coach Sonny, that was NSD at its finest. I was looking at their eyes. I was looking at their body language to see if they are ready to pack it in. But I just never saw the evidence.”
San Miguel bungled a 62-44 lead in the Game Three defeat with Cameron Clark finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and CJ Perez adding 14 for the Beermen.
Barangay Ginebra 87 – Brownlee 22, Thompson 17, Standhardinger 14, Gray 13, Malonzo 12, Pinto 4, Pessumal 3, Mariano 2, Pringle 0.
San Miguel 85 – Clark 16, Perez 14, Lassiter 13, Cruz 12, Enciso 11, Herndon 6, Tautuaa 6, Ross 5, Manuel 2.
In the other semi-finals game, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson erupted for 40 points on 51-percent shooting, alongside 13 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal as the Tropang Giga defeated Meralco Bolts, 99-80. Mikey Williams finished with 29 points on 6 triples and 3 assists. TNT leads the series at 2-1 and is a win away from the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals vs Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.