For the last time, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and the Bay Area Dragons will face each other in the do-or-die Game 7 of the best-of-seven finals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday, January 15.
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel drew first blood in their first game, winning the match, 96-81. However, the Bay Area Dragons quickly tied the series at one game apiece by winning game number 2, 99-82.
In the injury-plague Game Three, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel capitalized on Bay Area Dragons’ foul-troubled player, winning the game, 89-82. In Game Four, import-less Bay Area Dragons solved the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s puzzle, 94-86, to tie the best-of-seven affairs, 2-2.
In Game Five, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel took advantage of the fact that the Bay Area Dragons is not using any import after Andrew Nicholson sat out due to injury, 101-91. In Game Six, Bay Area Dragons alternate import Myles Powell made his return to the court, lifting his team to a close 87-84 victory to extend the series in a do-or-die game seven.
Bay Area Dragons: Proving their worth as a guest team
As the guest team in this season’s PBA Commissioner Cup, the Bay Area Dragons need to prove themselves that they have what it takes to win a championship in the oldest professional basketball league in Asia, and the second oldest in the world after the NBA.
In the elimination rounds, the Bay Area Dragons finished the group stage atop with a 10-2 win-loss record, tied with the local team Magnolia Chicken Timplado Hotshots. However, since the Bay Area Dragons won their head-to-head match-up, the guest team was ranked number one.
In the Bay Area Dragons’ quarterfinals, a match-up against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, the Hong Kong-based team did not need their twice-to-beat advantage as they showed their domination, 126-96.
In the semifinals against the San Miguel Beermen, the Bay Area Dragons showed no mercy as they demolished the team, 3-1. In Game 1, the Bay Area Dragons just barely escaped the San Miguel Beermen, 103-102, behind Andrew Nicholson’s double-double performance of 30 points and 15 rebounds.
In Game Two of their best-of-five semifinals against the Beermen, the Bay Area Dragons showed their mastery over coach Leo Austria and the San Miguel Beermen, 114-95, with Andrew Nicholson carrying the team again with 34 points and 16 rebounds. However, the San Miguel Beermen managed to snatch Game 3, 98-96, behind Devon Scott’s 25 points and Junmar Fajardo’s 16 rebounds.
Fortunately for the Bay Area Dragons, they woke up on the right side of the bed in Game 4, closing the series with a 94-92 victory.
Myles Powell: The Undefeated Import
With their alternate import Myles Powell returning, he needs to do what he does best: correctly reading the opponent’s plays and carrying the team in both offense and defense. Myles Powell was the import the Bay Area Dragons used in the first four games of their elimination rounds, which they all won.
The first defeat that the Bay Area Dragons suffered in the elimination round was against the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel with their import, Andrew Nicholson, who was playing his first game at that time.
Myles Powell had a 5-0 win-lose record while Andrew Nicholson had 7-5. Now that Myles Powell will be the one to play in Game Seven, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel has yet to solve his puzzle so there’s a high chance of winning the crucial do-or-die matchup.
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel: The Crowd-favorite with Never-Say-Die Attitude
At their most important game at the 2022-23 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel will come on as a crowd favorite, with the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena will be filled with Filipino fans whose support for the team never faded.
The crowd-favorite finished the elimination in third place with a 9-3 win-loss record, losing to local teams Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, and NLEX Road Warriors.
In their quarterfinals against the NorthPort Batang Pier, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel started the playoffs hot, winning their first two games with wide margins. In Game 1, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel defeated the NorthPort Batang Pier, 119-102, behind Justin Brownlee’s 39 points. In Game 2, the NorthPort Batang Pier managed to close the score but lose their steam later in the match, 93-99.
In Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s semifinals against sister team Magnolia Chicken Timplado Hotshots, the team only needed four games to dispose of the team who once got the grand slam – winning all three conferences of the PBA.
In Game 1, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel drew first blood against the Magnolia Chicken Timpaldo Hotshots, 87-84. However, the Magnolia Chicken Timplado Hotshots bounced back in Game 2 with a 96-95 victory to tie the game at one game apiece.
In Game 3, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel showed no mercy after demolishing the Magnolia Hotshots, 103-80, behind Justin Brownlee’s 38 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists. In Game 4, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel managed to close the series with a 99-84 victory, with Justin Brownlee recording a double-double performance with 24 points and 14 rebounds.
Justin Brownlee: The Man behind Barangay Ginebra’s recent success
Coming into the last game of the 2022-23 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Justin Brownlee will wake up extra motivated after the law that granted him Filipino citizenship was recently signed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos. As naturalized Filipinos, the whole Filipino fans will surely make their presence felt in Justin’s game on Sunday with the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
At the end of the elimination round, Justin Brownlee led this year’s imports in assists per game with 7.2. He also got the record with the most number of triple-doubles in a match, achieving it in three games.
In the best-of-seven final series, Justin has always been the backbone of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel with Coach Tim Cone drawing a play just for him.
PBA Finals Game 7: Barangay Ginebra versus Bay Area Dragons
In basketball, anything can happen since, just like the ball, sometimes you’d find yourself on top. However, looking at the statistics of the past seven games, no team beat their opponent on two consecutive times.
If the patterns were to believe, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel would win the do-or-die Game 7, unless the Bay Area Dragons, led by its head coach Brian Goorjian, managed to solve Tim Cone’s tactics.