The Barangay Ginebra Kings were the third team to clinch the twice-to-beat edge as they repulsed Magnolio, 93-86, in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ginebra survived multiple comeback attempts by the Hotshots and ultimately improved to an 8-2 win-loss record to secure its place in the top four heading into the playoffs.
Magnolia ended their elimination round assignment with an 8-3 tally. The Hotshots, though, are still assured of a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
Down 22 points early in the fourth period, Magnolia refused to just roll over and die and sliced the deficit little by little with its pesky defense.
Magnolia got much significant contributions from Robbie Herndon, who hit a three-pointer before Paul Lee checked in for him and unloaded a trey that trimmed the gap to nine, 83-74 with 4:13 remaining.
LA Tenorio and Justin Brownlee then hit three-pointers each to restore order. Magnolia struck back anew, with Jio Jalalon completing a three-point play to pull to within five, 89-84. But things would not go their way as Brownlee and Tenorio would seal the match with a breakaway layup and a pari of free throws.
Brownlee had a tour-de-force performance with 29 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, and two steals. Japeth Aguilar chipped in 17 markers and six boards, three dimes, and three blocks.
Greg Slaughter had 11 points and nine rebounds, while Tenorio chimed in nine markers, three boards, and three assists.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone heaped praise on the Hotshots, whose defense got its teeth in the crucial minutes.
"Every time we look like we're putting the game away, they'll come back and have a big run. That shows how god that team is," Cone said. "That's the way they are. They do that to everybody. They use their pressure so smartly. We're just glad to get out of that and get the win and get the top four."
Ginebra 93 - Brownlee 29, Aguilar 17, Slaughter 11, Tenorio 9, Mercado 9, Mariano 6, Thompson 6, Chan 3, Ferrer 3, Caperal 0.
Magnolia 86 - Travis 30, Lee 21, Jalalon 12, Barroca 10, Herndon 5, Melton 3, Simon 2, Dela Rosa 2, Reavis 1, Sangalang 0, Ramos 0, Brondial 0.
Quarterscores: 24-15, 46-31, 69-53, 93-86.
-- Justin Brownlee actually committed a game-high nine turnovers.
-- Magnolia extended its losing streak to Ginebra in the elimination round to eight games dating back to 2016.
-- Ian Sangalang, who has been on a resurgence, wound up scoreless in almost 19 minutes of play.
Ginebra - vs TNT on November 4 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum