MANILA, Philippines – Bay Area welcomed import Myles Powell back with open arms as the former NBA player led the Dragons’ thrilling PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals Game 6 escape over Barangay Ginebra, 87-84, at the sold-out Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, January 11.
As if he wasn’t freshly coming off a severe left foot injury, Powell came off the bench and tallied a team-high 29 points on 11-of-20 shooting in almost 36 minutes of action, while Hayden Blankley continued his torrid streak with 23 points on an efficient 8-of-13 shooting and 6-of-10 from three.
Justin Brownlee paced the sorry loss with a 37-point, 11-assist, 10-rebound triple-double plus 4 blocks and 4 steals in 47 minutes, and was practically solely responsible for lifting Ginebra out from down 12 in the third quarter, 46-58, with 16 third quarter points.
Thanks to their import’s carry job, the Gin Kings had the Dragons by the throat midway through the fourth quarter, when they led by as many as 7, 73-66, thanks in part to steady contributions from Christian Standhardinger, who finished with 12 points in 27 minutes.
However, Powell brought the heat on the court and iced the 22,361-strong crowd at the Big Dome with clutch play after clutch play, the last of which was an offensive rebound off his own missed free throw to put Bay Area up 3, 87-84, after another split trip from the line off the duty foul with 5.4 seconds left.
As Ginebra had no other option but to go for the three, the Dragons pressured the inbounding Brownlee, which forced LA Tenorio to instead find Japeth Aguilar, who missed the potential tying triple at the buzzer.
“I had exhausted bodies on the floor, and what we do and how we play to stay with this team is exhausting. [Powell] is not in condition to walk into something like that. It’s totally will – his will,” said Bay Area coach Brian Goorjian at the postgame presser.
“He’s shown this, his spirit is incredible, and our guys, our young kids know about him, and there’s somebody to play off. We put the ball in his hands the last five minutes of the game when we went down seven points, and he took us to the promised land. So we got another one.”
Aguilar was the only other Gin King who breached double-digit scoring with 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
Reigning MVP Scottie Thompson scattered 8 points, 9 boards, 6 dimes, and 5 steals in nearly 40 minutes, while “Iron Man” Tenorio went scoreless in just 18 minutes as he endured an abdominal strain.
Game 7 tips off at the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on Sunday, January 15, 5:45 pm, two days later than the original Friday schedule.
Bay Area 87 – Powell 29, Blankley 23, Yang 10, Zhu 10, Lam 9, Liu 4, Reid 2, Zheng 0, Ju 0.
Ginebra 84 – Brownlee 37, J.Aguilar 12, Standhardinger 12, Thompson 8, Pringle 8, Malonzo 4, Pinto 3, Tenorio 0, Gray 0.
Quarters: 25-20, 50-42, 66-64, 87-84.