MANILA, Philippines – After failing miserably the first time, Barangay Ginebra hit the correct notes on the second try and pounced on an injured Bay Area to advance toward the peak. The Gin Kings defeated the import-less Dragons, 101-91, to take a 3-2 lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals on Sunday night. This victory was made possible by the improved play of Justin Brownlee and substitute Stanley Pringle as well as the raucous 21,823 spectators at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Kings struck at the Dragons once more to take a crucial 3 to 2 lead in the best-of-seven championship playoff as Justin Brownlee continued to dish out the Justin Brownlee stuff and Stanley Pringle made a remarkable comeback to replace the injured LA Tenorio.
After a two-day break, the two sides will square off once more on Wednesday at the same Pasay City site, with the Kings getting their first of two chances to win the coveted championship.
Brownlee stated that after learning from their 94 to 86 loss in Game 4, they would want to remain concentrated on the task at hand regardless of who or how the Dragons line up in Game 6.
Since Game 4 they had been without Andrew Nicholson, and without Glen Yang in Game 5 they were even more shorthanded.
Despite not wanting to detract from his team’s performance, Ginebra coach Tim Cone remarked, “We’re surprised Glen would not play, and it was a bonus for us, knowing Nicholson is out. Glen is a good point guard.”
Cone said that while “last time, we didn’t get a direction regarding who to defend as we’re equipped for Nicholson, today was different as we had a strategy for Kobey Lam and we knew a scheme for huge Liu.”
True enough, the Kings showed off their defensive prowess, and on top of that, Brownlee and Pringle provided a ton of firepower.
Brownlee, who exploded for 37 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting, eight rebounds, four blocks, and three steals, stated, “We just wanted to come out and be aggressive. We wanted to win this game so that we’d need only one more to win the series.”
In the second half, Pringle took over for Tenorio, who had been sidelined with a groin ailment. The Fil-Am sensation made key triples to help keep the Dragons at bay.
Pringle scored 20 points despite still being injured, making 6-of-9 three-pointers in a scorching run.
Two of his three-pointers gave the Kings leads of 18 points, at 76 to 58 and 84 to 66, respectively.
At 87 to 69, Scottie Thompson’s spectacular three-point play gave the Kings their last 18-point lead, and the crowd erupted in raucous cries of “MVP, MVP” in response. from the enthusiastic Ginebra fans.
The Dragons attempted a comeback and closed the gap to five points at 86 to 91, but back-to-back three-pointers from Thompson and Pringle reduced the strain on the Kings.
Los Angeles Tenorio’s involvement in the closeout effort is uncertain as a result of a groin injury he sustained in the third quarter, which is a disadvantage to the triumph that forced Ginebra to the bench.
On the Bay Area side, Nicholson and maybe Yang are ready to pick up where they left off.
Whether or if they win the championship, the Dragons are all cool for a future return season in Asia’s first pay-to-play league.
The PBA is willing to once more welcome visitor teams to upcoming events, according to Commissioner Willie Marcial. He explained that both parties can benefit from exchanging basketball tactics and information.
Scores at the end of the match
Ginebra with 101 points
Individual scores: Brownlee 37, Pringle 20, J.Aguilar 12, Tenorio 8, Malonzo 7, Thompson 7, Standhardinger 5, Pinto 3, Gray 2, Mariano 0
Bay Area with 91 points
Individual scores: Blankley 29, Lam 16, Zheng 15, Liu 10, Ewing 9, Song 5, Zhu 3, Reid 2, Ju 2
Scores per quarter
23-24, 54-43, 76-62, 101-91.