Myles Powell was the shot in the arm Bay Area badly needed in staying alive as the guest team took the crucial 87-84 win to send the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals to a Game 7, Wednesday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Brought back to replace the injured Andrew Nicholson, the 25-year-old fired 29 points, 12 of which he made in the fourth quarter to help the Dragons swing the match back in their favor after coughing up a 12-point lead in the third.
He shot 55-percent from the floor, including a 5-of-11 clip from deep, and also finished with seven rebounds and three assists in the victory.
“Just being out there with my brothers and the will to win,” said Powell of his outing. “I know what we had to do, I know what I mean to the team.
“If I couldn’t bring that, I wouldn’t step out on the floor. Coach sacrificed for us, and it was my turn to sacrifice, and that’s what I went out there and did today.”
Hayden Blankley led Powell’s supporting cast with 23 points and seven rebounds, with the returning Glen Yang helping out as well with 10 markers.
Zhu Songwei flirted with a triple-double as he tallied 10 markers and 10 assists with seven rebounds as he helped ignite the key fourth-quarter rally.
One of his dimes, a pocket pass to Duncan Reid, led to a basket underneath, kickstarting a 12-5 run — capped by a Powell triple — to erase a seven-point deficit and tie the game at 78-all with 7:03 remaining.
The Kings scored four straight as a response but Blankley and Powell joined hands for seven unanswered points to take an 85-82 lead, 2:35 to go.
Justin Brownlee cut the gap to a point and tried to will the crowd darlings back but they could not snatch the driver’s seat back due to their offensive woes.
An opportunity rose when Powell only spit his foul shots in two separate trips to the foul line inside the game’s final seconds, but Ginebra could not execute the play designed for Brownlee in an attempt to tie the game through a triple.
“I had exhausted bodies on the floor, and what we do and how we play to stay with this team is exhausting. The guy next to me is not in a condition to walk into something like that. It’s totally will — his will,” said coach Brian Goorjian.
“He’s shown this, his spirit is incredible, and our guys, our young kids know about him, and there’s somebody to play off,” he added.
“And we put the ball in his hands the last five minutes of the game when we went down seven [points], and he took us to the Promised Land. So we got another one,” furthered the world-renowned bench tactician.
Brownlee, on the other hand, carried Ginebra with 37 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, four steals, and four blocks in 47 minutes in the defeat.
Backing him up was the frontcourt tandem of Christian Standhardinger and Japeth Aguilar, who chipped in 12 markers apiece.
The Kings shot 37.5-percent from the floor, their second-worst shooting night after making just 34.9-percent in their 99-82 win in Game Two.
Game Seven is on Sunday at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan as the PBA decided to move the date from Friday due to public demand.
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.
Quarterscores: 25-20, 50-42, 66-64, 87-84
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.