Ginebra routs HK Bay Area to rule Commissioner’s Cup before record crowd at PHL Arena

Christian Standhardinger eludes his defenders for an easy basket en route to winning the Finals Most Valuable Player award.

BARANGAY Ginebra San Miguel stirred a storm early on and held on with a tenacious defense complemented by a lethal outside shooting to rout Hong Kong Bay Area, 114-99, and rule the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s  Cup witnessed by a record 54,589 screaming fans on Sunday night at the Philippine Arena.

Perhaps it was the mammoth crowd that cheered the Gin Kings to a hoarse all game long or the Dragons’ inexperience in playing a Game 7—and in front of the biggest fan attendance they played before for the first time—but the Gin Kings were one great party drink that didn’t disappoint.

“Wow! This one’s for you—the fans!” said Tim Cone, who won for Ginebra its 15th PBA crown on top of clinching his own 25th trophy in the league.

Justin Brownlee was amazing as he played his second game as a naturalized Filipino, finishing with a game-high 34 points—15 he made in the first quarter when the Gin Kings jumped the gun on the visitors with a near flawless offense and a defense that denied their opponents open looks at the basket.

“It means the world,” said Brownlee, who now has six championship rings with Ginebra. “I’m glad we can do it in front of these beautiful fans.”

 “They [Dragons] kept fighting, but we had the fight in us, too,” added Brownlee, who played 46 minutes marked also by 12 assists and eight rebounds.

Reigning Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson provided the hustle as usual. He was all over the court and made life hard for the Dragons with his 18 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

And yes, Christian Standhardinger—he had 12 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in Game 7 but because of his consistency in the series, he was named Finals MVP by the PBA Press Corps.

It was also a breakthrough game for Jamie Malonzo—acquired from NorthPort during the season break— who earned Player of the Game honors with a 22-point and 17-rebound performance. 

Cone and the Gin Kings, however, had some scary moments in the second half where the Dragons just wouldn’t roll and surrender.

Ginebra led by as many as 28 points, 75-47, in the third quarter but with Bay Area import Myles Powell willing his team back with repeated power incursions, the deficit was trimmed to 13, 106-93, with under four minutes remaining.

The double-digit separation was enough for the Gin Kings to hold on to and with Brownlee sinking a floater, the home team nailed seven straight points to virtually wrap up the title, 7, 113-93, with two minutes to go.

Powell still managed 29 points, while Hayden Blankley had 25 points and nine rebounds for the Dragons, who failed becoming only the third guest team to win a PBA crown.

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