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    The Dragon Slayers: Ginebra routes Bay Area, captures PBA Commissioner’s Cup crown

    MANILA, Philippines – The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel is the 2022-2023 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Champions after dismantling the Bay Area Dragons, 114-99 on Sunday, January 15, 2023 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

    What a good omen that Ginebra had in the do-or-die game seven of the PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals as newly-naturalized Filipino Justin Brownlee found his rhythm too early in the game.

    Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel wrapped-up the 7-game-finals-series with a superb win
    Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel wrapped-up the 7-game-finals-series with a superb win and 15th PBA title. Congrats BGSM! Photo Credit: PBA

    Meanwhile, the Bay Area Dragons started way off as Kobey Lam committed two personal fouls with over ten minutes left in the opener that prompted Myles Powell to enter the ballgame earlier than expected.

    Brownlee was too fortunate to be assisted by his teammates in their scoring run that resulted in their first double-digit lead of the game. Christian Standhardinger led the offensive assault for the locals.

    Bay Area, spearheaded by ex-NBA player Powell bounced back in the final phase of the first quarter and managed to bring the lead down to just 6, 27-21.

    Ginebra was almost on the brink of losing its lead in the second period. Gladly, Japeth Aguilar utilized his high-leaping ability offensively to prevent the Dragons from taking over.

    Court unfamiliarity could have affected Dragons’ shooting performance as the visitors barely convert their jumpers and treys that usually go in at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    Brownlee might have slowed down in the first six minutes of the second quarter. But as the quarter came to a close, the super scorer “local” re-ignited from all cylinders to preserve his squad’s advantage.

    The boisterous paying patrons jumped off their seats as Aguilar made a follow up two-handed jump to close the first half with a very convincing 61-39 lead.

    Standhardinger and Powell squared up at the beginning of the penultimate quarter while Brownlee continued to sizzle from the three point territory to widen Ginebra’s lead.

    Bay Area, though struggling from the outside, inched closer to Ginebra via the shaded lane midway of the third.

    Just as the Dragons were catching up, Jamie Malonzo joined Brownlee et al in the three point shooting spree plus a quasi highlight reel as the highflyer almost dunked over 7’5” Liu Chuanxing.

    The Dragons made a final scoring run at the dying minutes of the period but the Gin Kings’ margin was still too big to be cut significantly. Ginebra entered the last chapter of the series with a 95-74 advantage.

    Hayden Blankley who has been instrumental in the entire series gave his all this game and started to knock on the door at the start of the final canto. Blankley single-handedly brought the huge number to just 15 with eight more minutes left.

    The Gin Kings started to feel the pressure as the Dragons were slowly eating the lead in the fourth quarter and their shots were not going in.

    Scottie Thompson, the reigning Best Player of the Conference, had multiple defensive stops against Powell and converted them to must-needed points to ramp up Ginebra’s edge to 20 anew.

    The Gin Kings melted the clock away with less than a minute remaining in the ballgame to avoid a costly error and a Dragon-upset.

    As the final horn sounded, Ginebra successfully defended their PBA Commissioner’s Cup trophy with a 114-99 win over Bay Area Dragons and in front of record-breaking 54,000 live audience.

    Along with the PBA plum and epic series performance, Christian “Bulldozer” Standhardinger won the Finals MVP.

    Congratulations and Mabuhay, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on your 15th PBA Title!

    — Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express
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