PBA Commissioner’s Cup

Hot-starting Bay Area destroys TNT to stay at No. 1, clinch playoff bonus

Delfin Dioquino
Hot-starting Bay Area destroys TNT to stay at No. 1, clinch playoff bonus

VOLUME SCORER. Bay Area import Myles Powell breaches the 30-point mark for the eighth time in as many games.

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Bay Area ends the elimination round in dominant fashion, erupting for a season record 80 first-half points in a 32-point rout of TNT to improve to a 10-2 record

MANILA, Philippines – Bay Area unleashed a furious first-half storm and laid TNT to waste in a 140-108 romp to claim a twice-to-beat playoff bonus in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the PhilSports Arena on Wednesday, November 23.

Import Myles Powell and Zhu Songwei led the way as the Dragons ended the elimination round in dominant fashion, erupting for a season record 80 points in the first two quarters en route to their 10th win in 12 games.

While Magnolia (8-2) and Barangay Ginebra (7-2) can still tie Bay Area for the No. 1 spot, the Dragons had already secured a top-two finish and a win-once prize in the quarterfinals due to a superior quotient over the Hotshots.

In case of a three-way logjam, the Gin Kings will take the top seed after beating the other two teams, while Bay Area and Magnolia will land at second and third, respectively.

Powell breached the 30-point mark for the eighth time in as many outings and exploded for 37 points, 29 coming in the first half, as the Dragons demolished the Tropang Giga early and enjoyed an 80-60 lead at halftime.

The former NBA player added 7 assists and 6 rebounds in 30 minutes of play, before sitting out the entire fourth quarter of the lopsided affair.

Zhu Songwei also starred in that sizzling start for the Dragons by netting 20 of his 22 points in the first half on top of 6 rebounds and 6 assists.

Missing veteran guard Jayson Castro (ankle), TNT never recovered and even got buried as deep as 38 points, 140-102, with the loss further pushing the Tropang Giga to the brink of elimination as they dropped to 4-7.

Kobey Lam backstopped Powell in scoring with 30 points to go with 6 rebounds, while Zheng Qilong added 16 points and 5 rebounds in the Dragons’ fourth straight win.

New TNT import Matt Mobley exploded for 38 points in his first game as a replacement for injured Cameron Oliver, but not even his big-time performance could save the Tropang Giga from their downward spiral.

Losing its third consecutive game, TNT no longer has control over its playoff fate as it needs to beat San Miguel in its final elimination-round game and hopes that any team inside the top eight finishes with a 5-7 record.

Poy Erram put up a double-double of 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks in the loss, Roger Pogoy tallied 16 points, while Jaydee Tungcab contributed 13 points.

The Scores

Bay Area 140 – Powell 37, Lam 30, Zhu 22, Zheng 16, Reid 10, Yang 9, Song 7, Blankley 3, Ju 2, Liu 0, Zhang 0, Liang 0.

TNT 108 – Mobley 38, Pogoy 16, Erram 16, Tungcab 13, M.Williams 11, Ogtana 9, Soyud 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Marcelo 2, Khobuntin 0, K.Williams 0, Cruz 0, Heruela 0.

Quarters: 34-24, 80-60, 109-82, 140-108.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.