One of the defining moments in the Bay Area Dragons’ narrow win over the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings didn’t even involve Myles Powell.
Ginebra won the jump ball, and Jamie Malonzo held the ball from beyond the arc. He mishandled the ball, which allowed Hayden Blankley to steal the ball. He made the quick pass to Kobey Lam and supplied a beautiful pass to Glen Yang for the easy layup finish.
This gaffe encapsulated the Gin Kings’ narrow 87-84 loss. Costly mistakes and poor shooting cost Tim Cone and company a series victory against one of their most formidable opponents in recent memory.
Powell was the player that kept the Dragons’ hopes alive. The Seton Hall product put on an unbelievable performance for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup guest team. He finished the night with 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists on 55% shooting.
The rest of the Dragons followed suit to keep their championship hopes alive. Blankley chipped in with 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals; Songwei Zhu had a near triple-double with 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 10 assists. Yang and Lam had 10 and 9 points, respectively.
Justin Brownlee was short of turning the entire Smart Araneta Coliseum upside down with his own showing. His 37 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists were the thing that kept the game close. Japeth Aguilar and Christian Stanhardinger were the only players to score more than 10 points for the Gin Kings.
The Gin Kings did everything they could to finish the game in six, but OKBET players who predicted a Game 7 are now enjoying their winnings.
Cone Wanted Game 7 to Proceed on Friday
The weight on Ginebra’s shoulders was already heavy coming into Game 7. The league’s decision to suspend the Friday game in favor of a bigger venue in the Philippine Arena will only put more eyes on the most beloved basketball team in the country.
Cone hoped the game would push through with its original schedule, though. According to SPIN.ph, the American coach hoped the series would finish earlier as the extended break would only give the Dragons time to rest.
Powell, Yang, and Blankley were all playing through injuries when they won Game 6. Giving Brian Goorjian’s squad three days to recuperate will only allow them to play against the Gin Kings at full strength.
If there’s one positive Cone can take from this, it’s the opportunity to rest L.A. Tenorio. The veteran guard was ineffective in Game 6 due to an abdominal strain. Japeth Aguilar is also dealing with a gastrointestinal issue.
The Philippine Arena will be packed with fans on Sunday as two outstanding teams face off for the last time. Local fans hope the Gin Kings can pull off another win and add to their already-crammed trophy cabinet.