The Meralco Bolts demolished defending PBA Governors’ Cup champions Barangay Ginebra, 104-91, in Game 1 of the best-of-seven finals series on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

/ 7 April 2022

It is now the fourth time that Meralco and Ginebra are dueling to claim the Governor Cup title, but it was the Bolts who took Game 1 of the PBA Governors’ Cup finals this season with a defense plan. 

Meralco held Ginebra to just 38% (31-of-81) shooting from the field and led a balanced offense strategy as Allein Maliksi paced the Bolts with 22 points and shot 5-of-7 from threes, while Tony Bishop had a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds.

With a little time left in the last quarter, Raymar Jose of the Bolts and Arvin Tolentino of Ginebra got too rough as the latter was defending, Tolentino gave a shove to the former which Raymar answered back with a shoulder bump resulting in a verbal confrontation between the two. 

Jose was handed a handful of free throws after game officials and numerous players rapidly intervened to separate the two, but Jose and Tolentino collided again, this time near their respective dugouts, and their teammates and coaches had to separate them once again. 

Ginebra was crowned as champions during the 2016, 2017, and 2019 editions of the season-ending conference, but this could be Meralco’s chance to take lead as they showed expressive performance after surviving twice-to-beat TNT in the quarters and NLEX in the semis.

Justin Brownlee led the Gin Kings with 27 points, while Christian Standhardinger put up 20 markers and 14 boards, Scottie Thompson also had a highlight game with a triple-double of 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in their loss.

The teams will face each other in game two on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The scores:

Meralco 104 – Maliksi 21, Bishop 20, Hodge 17, Black 12, Almazan 10, Newsome 8, Quinto 6, Belo 5, Banchero 2, Jose 2, Canete 0, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0, Pasaol 0, Baclao 0, Jamito 0.

Barangay Ginebra 91 – Brownlee 27, Standhardinger 20, Thompson 19, Tolentino 6, Tenorio 5, Chan 5, Caperal 4, Ayaay 3, Pinto 2, Enriquez 0, Onwubere 0, Mariano 0, Devance 0.

Quarters: 25-23; 53-42; 78-60; 104-91.