The return of Myles Powell was a blessing for the Bay Area Dragons and a big problem for the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings on Wednesday night as the Dragons took Game 6 of the 2022-2023 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
With a record number of 22,361 fans in attendance watching, Powell provided the answers to the Dragons’ offensive needs, including two of four free throw shots he sinked in the last 5.4 seconds carrying the Dragons to an 87-84 triumph over the Gin Kings.
The 25-year-old Powell went on to finish with 29 points and seven rebounds for the Dragons, who tied their best-of-seven series with the Kings at 3-all.
Hayden Blankley added 20 points for the Dragons, who will engage the Gin Kings in a deciding Game 7 on Sunday at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Powell, who was brought back into the Dragons’ roster to replace injured import Andrew Nicholson, scored a charity apiece in the seven-second and five-second marks on fouls by Nards Pinto and Scottie Thompson for the final count.
The Gin Kings, who missed a chance to take the crown outright, had chances to force an overtime.
But Japeth Aguilar bungled a three-point attempt at the buzzer.
“It’s totally will. We showed it with his spirit. And our guys know that. We put the ball in his (Powell’s) hands in the last five minutes when we were down by seven. And he took us to the promised land. And now, we got another one,” said Bay Area coach Brian Goorjian.
Justin Brownlee topscored for the Gin Kings with 37 points, but the Dragons’ defensive touches limited him to just five in the last period.
The Gin Kings kept matters close in the last 2:24 off Brownlee’s layup, 84-85.
They tried overtaking the Dragons in the remaining time, but Brownlee and Stanley Pringle missed their triples, and Thompson turned the ball over on a bad pass in the final 29 seconds.
At the same time, Blankley and Powell misfired on their triples as well.
The turnout was the highest attendance in a finals’ game, eclipsing the 23,711 fans, who came to watch the 2019 season opening of the Philippine Cup at the Philippine Arena in a contest involving Ginebra and the TNT Tropang Giga.
It was also the largest since 22,528 went to see the title-clinching Game 6 of 2016 Governor’s Cup between Ginebra and Meralco.
BAY AREA 87 – Powell 29, Blankley 23, Yang 10, Zhu 10, Lam 9, Liu 4, Reid 2, Zheng 0, Ju 0
GINEBRA 84 – Brownlee 37, J.Aguilar 12, Standhardinger 12, Thompson 8, Pringle 8, Malonzo 4, Pinto 3, Tenorio 0, Gray 0,
QUARTERS: 25-20, 50-42, 66-64, 87-84