The Kings clipped the Dragons’ wings and kept them grounded this time around, all thanks to Stanley Pringle.
Pringle played the fireman’s role and buried two clutch triples as Barangay Ginebra erased the bitter memory of its Game 4 loss with a thrilling 101-91 victory over Bay Area to move on cusp of the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup title in Game 5 of their Finals series at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday, Jan. 8.
With the Dragons threatening to author its own comeback after cutting the lead down to just five from as high as 18, Pringle rose to the occasion and drilled the first triple from the left corner before drilling the second one from the opposite side off a fly-by move 30 seconds after to restore a 97-86 lead – much to the delight of the 21,823 in attendance.
Pringle finished with 20 points – 11 of which he dropped in the final frame to provide ample support to Justin Brownlee who unloaded a splendid outing on both ends of the floor with 30 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and three steals.
It seemed like Ginebra had actually learned from its mistake in the last game after shrugging off an early game resistance from the Dragons and maintaining a double-digit spread in the middle quarters which was buoyed by a huge 31-19 second quarter scoring..
Bay Area, however, was not the one to raise the white flag just yet as despite staring at the largest lead at 76-58 late in the third crawled their way back into the contest and broke through the double-digit barrier in the final frame, 89-81, after six straight points from Kobey Lam.
Brownlee scored on a floater but another triple from Qilong Zheng and free throws from Hayden Blankley shoved the Dragons within five and set up the stage to Pringle’s heroics.
Baskets from Scottie Thompson and Japeth Aguilar then put on the finishing touches as Ginebra shook off the hard-fighting Dragons side even without LA Tenorio who suffered a groin injury late in the first half.
Blankley stepped up for the Dragons with 29 points built on five triples while Lam recovered from a sluggish start to still finish with 16 points across his name.
Ginebra can clinch the title in Game 6 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, Jan. 11