The Barangay Ginebra Kings thump the NLEX Road Warriors 111-75 Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to set up a "Manila Clasico" showdown in the PBA Governors' Cup semifinals.
Ginebra seized control in the second period and sputtered briefly in the third before breaking the game wide open in the fourth period.
Ginebra faces rival Magnolia in the best-of-five semifinals.
"We got Magnolia next. It's always an incredible series. Game by game it's incredible. It's gonna be a tough one," Ginebra coach Tim Cone said.
The Gin Kings exploited their size advantage with Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter.
Aguilar finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Slaughter had 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field.
Justin Brownlee had a triple-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.
But it was Sol Mercado and Jeff Chan providing the lift in the third period when the Road Warriors got to as close as five points. The two combined for 26 points as the Gin Kings restored order in the third before turning the game into a clinic in the final frame.
Mercado and Chan hit back-to-back 3-pointers, Aguilar soared for a two-handed throwdown, before Mercado completed a 3-point play with 8:10 remaining, 89-62. Things went downhill for the Road Warriors from there. NLEX just couldn't find a way to get a scoring run going with Ginebra clamping down on defense in the final stretch.
"I thought Sol and Jeff Chan came out and just kinda turned the game with their play both on offense and defense. Jeff shooting his threes and Sol making his stops," Cone said. "We were able to zoom ahead with Justin [Brownlee], Japeth [Aguilar], and Greg [Slaughter] on the bench. That's always good when you have those guys resting in the fourth quarter."
In the process of providing key 3-pointers, Chan became the 91st player to crack the elite 5,000-point club.
"I'm happy, but most importantly, I'm happy we won. We advanced to the semifinals. That's what's important. The 5,000 points were a bonus," Chan said in FIlipino.
Chan finished with 12 points and three 3-pointers.
Chan won't have much time to savor the career milestone or the victory as preparation for Magnolia begins immediately.
"The key to beating them is to stop [Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon]. We will focus on defense. We limit them, and we're gonna be OK," Chan said.
Aaron Fuller was the lone bright spot for NLEX as he churned out 25 points and 12 rebounds.
Ginebra 111 - J. Aguilar 18, Slaughter 16, Mercado 14, Brownlee 13, Chan 12, Mariano 8, Tenorio 7, Ferrer 7, Thompson 6, Caperal 5, R. Aguilar 3, Manuel 2.
NLEX 75 - Fuller 25, Paniamogan 9, Quinahan 9, Galanza 7, Ighalo 6, Fonacier 5, Mallari 4, Rios 4, Monfort 3, Miranda 3, Taulava 0, Tiongson 0, Baguio 0, Tallo 0.
Quarterscores: 26-20, 50-36, 76-62, 111-75.
-- Jeff Chan reached a milestone on Tuesday as he joined the elite 5,000-point club. Before the game, he needed just three points to achieve the feat.
-- Justin Brownlee only had five points at halftime. His teammates picked up the cudgels, and Cone was pleased his team was not Justin-reliant Tuesday.
-- Fuller was the only NLEX player who finished in double figures