Barangay Ginebra overcomes a 14-point deficit to take a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-seven series as Justin Brownlee and Scottie Thompson perform admirably when it counts.
With an 89-82 victory in Game 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena on January 4, Barangay Ginebra restored the lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals. Justin Brownlee and Scottie Thompson pulled through late.
The Gin Kings overcame a 14-point deficit and took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series thanks to clutch performances by the front-runners for the Best Import and Best Player of the Conference awards.
By scoring 19 of his game-high 34 points in the fourth quarter, including 12 points in a 15-6 run that tied the score at 79-79 with less than three minutes remaining; Brownlee demonstrated why he is the front-runner for his third Best Import title.
After a Glenn Yang layup, the Dragons were still ahead 73-64 until Brownlee, who finished with 17 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals, took control, scoring and dishing out assists on all 15 of the points during that scorching run.
Then, following in Brownlee’s footsteps, Best Player of the Conference front-runner Thompson converted a vital putback and found Jamie Malonzo for a three-pointer on the subsequent two possessions to give Ginebra an 84-79 lead.
The Gin Kings improved after losing by 17 points the previous game thanks in large part to Thompson, who added a double-double of 14 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals.
“Justin upped his motor and Scottie went crazy and got a couple of unbelievable rebounds and we got on a roll,” Tim Cone, the head coach of Ginebra, remarked.
With 23 points, 24 rebounds, and 2 blocks, Andrew Nicholson led the way for Bay Area but departed the game with 30 seconds left due to what seemed to be a left ankle injury.
During a struggle for rebounds, Nicholson tripped over Malonzo’s foot and had to be helped off the court, joining Hayden Blankley.
With 5:30 remaining, Blankley fouled out and had to leave the game early as well. His strong effort, which included 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks, was cut short.
With 17 points and 6 rebounds in the defeat, Kobey Lam outperformed Nicholson. His triple with under six minutes remaining in the third quarter gave the Dragons their largest lead of the game, 59-45.
The majority of the 15,004 spectators, the Gin Kings hopefuls, remained silent while Bay Area maintained the advantage for the majority of the game, but the audience grew louder and louder as Ginebra reduced its deficit.
With 1:26 remaining, the Gin Kings had their first lead since the second quarter, 81-79, thanks to Thompson’s stunning putback after he skied over the 6-foot-10 Nicholson.
After drawing the defense’s attention, Thompson found Malonzo in the open court for a three-pointer to increase their margin to five points. Brownlee and LA Tenorio then gave Ginebra the victory by making five free throws in the final 40 seconds.
Christian Standhardinger scored 15 points and grabbed 4 rebounds while Malonzo contributed 10 points and 4 rebounds off the bench to help his team win.
Barangay Ginebra 89 – Brownlee 34, Standhardinger 15, Thompson 14, Malonzo 10, Tenorio 8, Pringle 5, J.Aguilar 3, Mariano 0, Gray 0, Pinto 0.
Bay Area 82 – Nicholson 23, Lam 17, Zhu 12, Yang 11, Blankley 10, Ewing 3, Ju 2, Liu 2, Song 2, Reid 0.
Quarters: 16-16, 35-37, 56-63, 89-82