PBA Commissioner’s Cup

‘Ride or die’: Powell defies coach’s plea to sit out pivotal PBA finals Game 6

JR Isaga
‘Ride or die’: Powell defies coach’s plea to sit out pivotal PBA finals Game 6

RIDE OR DIE. Bay Area import Myles Powell drives past the Ginebra defense at the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals

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Bay Area import Myles Powell suits up just four weeks into his six- to eight-week injury rehab and leads the Dragons over Ginebra to force a winner-take-all PBA finals Game 7

MANILA, Philippines – Bay Area head coach Brian Goorjian headed to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals against Barangay Ginebra with the full knowledge that he was not fielding import Myles Powell.

After suffering a severe left foot injury in early December, the Dragons set a six- to eight-week timeframe for the former NBA player’s recovery, and moved on to their other import Andrew Nicholson supposedly for the rest of their campaign, wherever it takes them.

However, Bay Area suddenly found itself in dire straits as Nicholson also went down with a left ankle injury in Game 3 and was unable to play in Game 4 and Game 5, allowing Ginebra to go up 3-2 in the best-of-seven series – on the cusp of its fourth title in six conferences.

It was at that point that Powell decided he had seen enough.

Just four weeks into his ongoing rehab, the former Philadelphia 76er decided to give it go for the do-or-die Game 6, practically defying Goorjian’s orders to sit it out.

“I’m a ride or die. We finish the huddle, [saying] ‘family.’ If we would’ve lost tonight, I wanted to be out there with my brothers. Win, lose or draw, I wanted to be out there. I didn’t really know what I was gonna do out there tonight, but like coach said, my spirit was there,” he said.

“I had my brothers’ back, and I just put it in God’s hands, and we came out on top. But like I said, if we would’ve lost tonight, I wanted to be out there with my brothers. And we came out on top, and now, we got one more. Job’s not finished.”

And give it a go, Powell did, as he finished with a scintillating 29-point game off the bench in nearly 36 minutes of action, shooting 11-of-20 from the field and 5-of-11 from three.

The 25-year-old showed zero signs of rust despite being seen in a walking boot just a few weeks prior. Three-pointers, bully-ball layups, you name it, he drained it in front of more than 22,000 fans clearly supporting Ginebra at the Araneta Coliseum.

For Goorjian, he is just pleased that the gamble paid off.

“I certainly wanted him to play, but I don’t want to risk his health, and I told him that,” he said. “I didn’t know we were going to win, I didn’t know he was going to make the plays he made, but I knew that something special was coming onto that floor tonight.”

“If he’s not there, if that spirit’s not there, we got no shot tonight. It was groomed for failure, and that was something different than what we’ve had in the whole series.”

From looking practically out of the running and just waiting for the Ginebra kill shot, Bay Area is now back on equal footing with the Gin Kings, and now goes for its own shot at destiny at the winner-take-all Game 7 on Sunday, January 15, at the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena. – Rappler.com

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