MANILA, Philippines – The Kings have been working hard for consecutive seasons. Sadly, Barangay Ginebra’s attempt to move on the verge of winning its fourth championship in 6 conferences is thwarted as Bay Area events the series at 2-2. The original target at 4-1 did not push through.
On Friday, January 6, the Bay Area Dragons stunned everyone by defeating Barangay Ginebra at full strength 94-86 to tie the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals at two games each. This was accomplished despite the absence of import Andrew Nicholson.
As Bay Area now attempts to take a 3-2 lead on Sunday, January 8, still at the Mall of Asia Arena, sniper Kobey Lam found his stride quickly and didn’t let up, exploding for 30 points on an 8-of-14 clip from beyond the arc.
Could Barangay Ginebra really bring the Bay Area to the verge of collapse? It has been a valiant effort.
When the Gin Kings play the Dragons in Game 4 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals on Friday, January 6, at the Mall of Asia Arena, they want to put themselves within striking distance of winning their fourth championship in as many conferences.
Ginebra has clearly gained momentum following a remarkable 89-82 comeback victory in Game 3, which saw the Gin Kings regain the lead in the best-of-seven series after falling behind by 14 points.
The fact that import Andrew Nicholson, who had a stellar performance in Game 3 with 23 points and 24 rebounds, appeared to sprain his left ankle toward the conclusion of the game doesn’t help the Bay Area.
Although Nicholson’s participation in Game 4 was doubtful, the Dragons had the option of activating star guard Myles Powell and putting Nicholson on the injured/reserve list. However, they decided to continue with him.
When Nicholson was hurt, another player on the Ginebra team, Justin Brownlee, stepped up and probably gave his best performance of the championship series, aiding them in winning Game 3.
Brownlee recorded a game-high 34 points, 17 rebounds, and three steals to close off the contest. He equaled the Bay Area team’s fourth-quarter scoring total with 19 points in the final frame alone.
Local players Christian Standhardinger and Scottie Thompson also gave everything they had for the Gin Kings, but when the Dragons tied the series at one, they were both capped at single-digit scoring totals.
In Game 3, Standhardinger contributed 15 points and 4 rebounds, and Thompson added a double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 steals.
More amazing performances in Game 4
After Kobey Lam’s 30-point, 8-triple bomb, Bay Area pulled off a huge shock over Ginebra to tie the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals despite playing without injured import Andrew Nicholson.
With 30 points on 11 of 20 shooting and 8 of 14 from three-point range, Kobey Lam led all scorers in the Bay Area and filled the sizable scoring void left by the injured foreigner. He added 4 assists, 9 rebounds, and 0 turnovers to his stat line.
During the 48-minute on-court brawl, Glen Yang and Songwei Zhu each scored 18 points, while Songwei Zhu added 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Six further assists were provided by Songwei Zhu.
When the teams were tied at 24 points each in the middle of the second quarter, Ginebra began its attempt to take the lead with a 14-2 run that concluded with a three-pointer by LA Tenorio with 5:04 left to put them in front 38-26 before leading 46-38 at mid.
In addition to scoring 18 points, Thompson—the current league MVP who was also awarded Best Player of the Conference—dished out 6 assists, pulled down 5 rebounds, and made an amazing 8 of 8 free throws. Overall, Japeth Aguilar scored 12 points.
Scores at the end of the match
Bay Area with 94 points
Individual scores: Lam 30, Yang 18, Zhu 18, Liu 8, Reid 8, Blankley 7, Song 3, Zheng 2, Ewing 0, Ju 0
Ginebra with 86 points
Individual scores: Brownlee 23, Thompson 18, J. Aguilar 12, LA Tenorio 11, Pringle 9, C. Standhardinger 8, Malonzo 5, Pinto 0, Gray 0, Mariano 0
Scores per quarter
19-19, 38-46, 60-61, 94-86