MANILA — Ginebra needed overtime to pip Star, 105-101, in the latest installment of the PBA’s “Manila Clasico” in front of 15,325 people at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night.—
In a close game that saw 29 lead changes and 16 stalemates, it was Japeth Aguilar’s putback slam with 5.3 seconds left that mattered as the Barangay survived a lethargic game from the free throw line, Paul Lee’s hot game from beyond the arc, and even a huge foul by Aguilar himself in the dying moments of the regulation that led to the extra five minutes.
Up 93-92, Ginebra had a chance to put the game away from the foul line, but Scottie Thompson, a relatively steady shooter from the stripe, missed both of his free throws with 22.3 seconds left in regulation.
Luckily for the team, Aguilar grabbed the offensive rebound, and the club milked eight seconds on the clock before Brownlee was fouled with 14.5 ticks on the clock.
Brownlee, however, still left the door open for Star as he only made one of two from the line for the 94-92 count.
The Hotshots opted to go for the lead in the next possession, but Malcolm Hill misfired from beyond the arc and Allein Maliksi muffed the follow-up jumper before Joe Devance grabbed the loose ball with 2.5 seconds left before getting fouled by Aldrech Ramos.
Devance, however, still kept Star at it as he too only made a split from the stripe.
Desperately seeking a three, Hill had to get free of Aguilar, which he did by going for an up fake that forced him to commit for an erroneous block attempt, eventually forcing the foul while taking a triple with 0.6 second left. Hill made all of his three charities to knot the count at 95-all.
Brownlee had a chance to win it for Ginebra in regulation, but his hurried three went airball.
The Barangay still could not put the game away in extra time as Devance, with them ahead 102-101, made only one of two from the stripe to up the lead to two, 103-101, with 54 seconds left.
Paul Lee tried to reclaim the lead for the Hotshots, but he missed a three-pointer with 29 seconds left.
Aguilar finally sealed the win for Ginebra as he slammed back Brownlee’s missed jumper for the final tally.
Brownlee led Ginebra, which took the top spot in the team standings at 6-1, with 33 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one block.
Greg Slaughter and Joe Devance each had 17-point double-doubles with the latter even coming close to a triple-double with eight dimes along with his 11 caroms. Slaughter had 10 boards of his own.
Hill finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, and two steals for Star, but he, who only had three fouls in regulation, fouled out in overtime.
Lee had a hot second half, scoring 19 of his 22 points in the last 29 minutes including the overtime session, but he only had two points in the final 15 and a half minutes.