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PBA: Barangay Ginebra vs Bay Area Dragons | 4 January, 5:45 PM (PST)

Mary C

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PBA Commissioner's Cup  

Barangay Ginebra vs Bay Area Dragons

In Game 3 of the 2022 PBA Commissioners’ Cup Finals on Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum, the Bay Area Dragons dominated Barangay Ginebra 99-82. In order to secure a comparatively easy victory, the Dragons built a double-digit lead at the half before holding off the Gin Kings’ comeback attempt in the second half. Bay Area was able to tie the best of seven championship series after the Dragons overcame a 96-81 setback in Game 1 on Christmas Day thanks to the outcome. Additionally, this was the first conference victory for Bay Area against the Gin Kings; they lost their encounter in the elimination round, 111-93. 

Although Zhu Songwei rightly won the Player of the Game honors after delivering 25 points, 6 assists, and five rebounds while leading the defense against Ginebra import Justin Brownlee, Andrew Nicholson was outstanding for Bay Area with 30 points and 15 rebounds. According to Bay Area coach Brian Goorjian, "Brownlee was a huge element, and this matchup was essential," noting that Zhu’s foul problems in the series opener significantly affected their game plan. Coach Brian also added, “Tonight, he kept it under control and helped us get the lead. We also competed with them on the glass," he also said, “we defended without fouling. To move forward, we got to stay on that page." 

Hayden Blankley scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting, rebounding from a dismal performance in Game 1. Bay Area made 50% of their shots and held the Gin Kings to 38.4% from the field. They broke away with a 30-point second quarter, going into the half with a comfortable 52-35 lead. The Gin Kings, fueled by a crowd of over 16,000 spectators at the Big Dome, made a second-half rally and got within five points, 68-63, after a Japeth Aguilar and –1 with over 11 minutes remaining in the game. However, it turned out to be the Gin Kings’ last stand. On the other end, Nicholson replied with his own three-point play, igniting a 9-0 run finished by a Blankley triple that restores the Bay Area advantage to double digits, 77-63. 

Justin Brownlee tried his hardest to keep Ginebra in the game, hitting three consecutive three-pointers to make it 82-72 with 7:20 remaining. But the Dragons had too much firepower, so Nicholson joined forces with Blankley and Ju Mingxin to help them draw away once more. With 2:18 left on two charities by Zhu, the Dragons led by 20 points,99-79, and crushed from there.  

Despite competing head-to-head with Nicholson, Brownlee finished with 32 points after making 28 field goals. As LA Tenorio was limited to only eight points on 3-of-11 shooting after scorching Bay Area for 22 in Game 1, Jamie Malonzo was the only other Gin Kings to score in double figures with 10. In addition to just getting 3 rebounds, Scottie Thompson only managed 9 points. Before the Game 3 of the finals at the Mall of Asia Arena on January 4, there will be a break in the series. 

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