By REYNALDO MAGALLON
Jeremiah Gray caught fire late as Barangay Ginebra delivered a familiar comeback to deal NLEX its first loss, 114-111, in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, Feb. 8.
Gray nailed three of his five triples in the last two minutes to anchor 13-3 finishing kick and spoil the rousing debut of the Road Warriors’ new import Wayne Selden Jr.
The sophomore sharpshooter turned in his best game so far in Kings uniform finishing with 19 points and provided the added gear to Ginebra’s comeback attempt which for the most time rode on the broad shoulders of Justin Brownlee who dropped an all-around effort of 44 points, 16 rebounds and six assists.
NLEX didn’t look like it missed the services of Jonathon Simmons who had to leave the team with Selden Jr. filling in his shoes perfectly, beginning his PBA career in style with 43 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
The Road Warrior actually looked poised to take the win, shrugging off the initial Ginebra run which cut the once 12-point deficit at 100-88 to just one, 102-101, after a Brownlee floater.
NLEX retaliated with a 6-0 counter behind Kevin Alas and Selden Jr. to keep a seven-point cushion, 108-101, which eventually proved to be futile in front of the Gray and Brownlee who scored all of Ginebra’s points in that finishing run.
Alas backstopped Selden Jr. with 22 points while Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser was all over the floor with 19 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks. Those efforts however were not enough as the Road Warriors fell to a 4-1 record while the Kings kept an unblemished 2-0 slate.
In the first game, Jalen Hudson dropped a 56-point bomb as TNT put a dent to Converge’s clean slate with a 128-122 victory.
Hudson carried the Tropang Giga on his back, as after firing 20 of his total in the first quarter alone, took over in the waning minutes to help his team pull away late and notch its fourth win in five games while also handling the FiberXers their first taste of defeat in the conference.
The TNT import was efficient on the floor shooting 20-of-30 from the field including six triples to go along with his 12 rebounds and four assists. Mikey Williams also provided support with timely hits in the final frame to finish with 19 points while RR Pogoy added 18 markers.
TNT 128 – Hudson 56, M.Williams 19, Pogoy 18, Varilla 12, Castro 10, Oftana 5, Chua 3, Khobuntin 3, K.Williams 2, Marcelo 0
CONVERGE 122 – Franklin 47, Ahanmisi 21, Tratter 11, Arana 10, Racal 9, Stockton 8, Teng 8, Murrell 6, Balanza 2, Guinto 0, Tolomia 0
Quarters: 35-32, 64-65, 93-94, 128-122
GINEBRA 114 – Brownlee 44, Gray 19, Thompson 12, Pringle 10, Malonzo 9, J. Aguilar 9, Pinto 8, Tenorio 3, Pessumal 0, R. Aguilar 0, Mariano 0
NLEX 111 – Selden Jr. 43, Alas 22, Ganuelas-Rosser 19, Rosales 10, Trollano 6, Semerad 6, Gabo 3, Anthony 2, Pascual 0, Doliguez 0
Quarters: 28-25, 59-55, 84-92, 114-111.