Fans came in droves hoping for a coronation for the Kings but were left brokenhearted at the buzzer.
Myles Powell made a roaring return in Game 6 as he powered a huge fightback from Bay Area to take down Ginebra, 87-84, and force a sudden death in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Powell dropped 29 points – 12 of which came in the fourth quarter including the two big free throws down the stretch that gave the Dragons a three-point cushion and silenced most of the wild 22,361 crowd in attendance.
Up by only one, 85-84, Powell took matters into his own hands, fishing for a foul against Nards Pinto to salvage their possession with seven seconds remaining in the clock. The high scoring point guard, usually cool and composed, split the important charities.
He, however, made up for the crucial miss on the second free throw with a huge rebound which proved to be the dagger to the Kings as he stretched the lead to three, 87-84, with five seconds left with another split from the foul line.
Bay Area then turned to its defense on the next possession as it denied Justin Brownlee in Ginebra’s final play, forcing Japeth Aguilar to go for a heavily contested triple that came up short at the buzzer.
Powell added seven rebounds and three assists in his resounding return from an ankle injury that sidelined him for the most part of the playoffs. Hayden Blankley provided ample support with 23 points built on six triples while Glen Yang, also playing through an injury, added 10.
Zhu Songwei was also solid in holding the fort for the Dragons with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds as they forced the winner-take-all Game 7 now set on Sunday at the Philippine Arena instead of the initial schedule on Friday.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial made the announcement after the game as the league heeded the call of the fans to move the game schedule to Sunday where they are available.
Justin Brownlee tried to carry the hopes of an entire nation on his shoulders, scattering a triple-double of 37 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds on top of his four blocks and four steals in 47 minutes of play.
Christian Standhardinger, who finished with 12 points and five rebounds, also sparked a huge fourth quarter flurry that allowed the Kings to build a 73-66 advantage with 9:49 left after trailing by 12 late in the first half.
Ginebra however couldn’t keep its hold of the lead in the waning minutes as Blankley and Powell combined in the pivotal 7-0 run late that put Bay Area ahead for good, 85-82.
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.
QUARTERS: 25-20, 50-42, 66-64, 87-84