BOCAUE, Philippines — The Gin Kings wins the 2022-23 PBA Commissioner's cup after dominating the Bay Area Dragons in a convincing 114-99 game 7 victory held at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, Philippines. The Arena accumulated a record-breaking 54,589 attendees to watch the much anticipated 7th game of the finals series.
The Bay Area Dragons are the East Asia Super League representatives from Hong Kong who are the third guest team to play in the PBA. They have managed to play in the finals in their first ever stint at the PBA Commissioner's cup.
Justin Brownlee led the Gin Kings by accumulating a game-high 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 12 assists. Best Player of the Game, Jamie Malonzo followed by scoring 22 points as well as being a menace by grabbing a game-high 17 boards, 2 blocks, and a steal. League MVP Scottie Thompson did not disappoint as well with his own contribution of 18 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and being a nuisance on the defensive end by pocketing 6 steals throughout the game. Japeth Aguilar electrified the bench by contributing 14 points. Christian Standhardinger scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Stanley Pringle with 3, and Jeremiah Gray with 1 point to help the team off the bench.
Meanwhile, the Bay Area Dragons guard Myles Powell led the team by tallying 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 rebounds. Hayden Blankley scored 25 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals for the Dragons. Kobey Lam also tallied a double-double performance with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Chuanxing Liu scored 17 points, Glen Yang scored 10, while Songwei Zhu scored 5 points.
Both teams started the game with aggression and a sense of urgency with matching defensive intensity, but it was the Gin Kings forward, Justin Brownlee who graced the game by scoring the first 2 of his 34-point performance. Minutes after an early back-and-forth, Brgy. Ginebra took an early 7-point lead after a three pointer from Brownlee followed by a fast-break dunk by Malonzo on back-to-back possessions due to a collective defensive effort halfway through the 1st period. Joining in the early highlight reel was the reigning MVP, Scottie Thompson showing why he became the MVP after a steal – initiating a fastbreak opportunity to which he spots Pringle on the right wing to knock down a three pointer, extending the lead to 10 points.
With the game going in the Gin Kings’ hands, the Bay Area made a late surge by splashing back-to-back 3-point shots followed by an inbound lay-in play by Powell to cut the lead to 6, concluding the 1st quarter at 27-21 in Ginebra’s favor.
Going into the 2nd quarter, both teams were exchanging baskets as Ginebra’s forward, Japeth Aguilar and the 7 '5 ft behemoth center for the Dragons in Chuanxing Liu traded slam dunks. However, it was still the Gin Kings who were in full control of the game when both Brownlee and Thompson netted three’s on back-to-back possessions to increase their margin by 11 points early in the 2nd quarter. The lead ballooned to 14-points after Brownlee hit again from downtown for the 3rd straight occasion late in the 2nd period. The Bay Area Dragons had no answer for Brownlee’s onslaught.
A barrage of threes from Thompson and Tenorio combined with a championship level intensity on the defensive end proved to be too much for the Bay Area Dragons as they found themselves down by 22 points. The dominance didn’t stop there as a buzzer beating put-back dunk by Japeth Aguilar to end the first half added insult to injury. It was Justin Brownlee who was in full control of the game with a 24 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists performance during the first half in 23 minutes of playing time. Meanwhile, Myles Powell of the Bay Area Dragons led his team with 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists in the half, 61-39.
The Bay Area Dragons were still trying to find a way during the 3rd quarter
to stop the bleeding and answer all the problems that the Gin Kings created but they were overwhelmed by the performance of the 2 frontcourts of Ginebra as Brownlee and Malonzo respectively scored successive lay-ins which again ballooned the lead to 26 at 75-49. The offense was paired with multiple Bay Area turnovers caused by a suffocating Ginebra defense which was anchored by Thompson, Brownlee, and Malonzo.
Ginebra’s rampage carried on throughout the 3rd quarter until the Dragons managed to ignite an 11-2 run late in the period. But Brgy. Ginebra weathered the storm after LA Tenorio’s back-to-back three pointers on both corners, leading by 25 points with a minute to go in the 3rd. A Bay Area lay-up followed by a free-throw the very next possession concluded the 3rd quarter as Brgy. Ginebra still leads, 95-74.
Bay Area Dragons guard Kobey Lam opened the 4th quarter with a spot-up three point shot on the left wing, but Japeth Aguilar's put-back lay up killed any sort of momentum that the Dragons were brewing as the lead went back to 25. With their backs against the wall, the Bay Area Dragons upped their game intensity and managed to cut the lead down to 16 but they still haven’t answered the frontcourt duo of Malonzo and Brownlee both offensively and defensively. Malonzo’s dunk electrified the crowd late in the 4th. After trimming the lead, it went back up again to 20 points after Scottie Thompson’s floater with 2 minutes to go in the final period. Their championship hopes were felt by more than 50,000 people in the arena, and the Gin Kings started celebrating.
Laser focused from the start up until the final buzzer, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel secured the 2022-23 Honda S47 PBA Commissioner’s Cup after dominating the Bay Area Dragons in a convincing 15 point victory 114-99 in game 7.
Jamie Malonzo was named the Best Player of the Game after a double-double performance, tallying 22 points, 17 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist, and 1 steal to propel the team into championship immortality.
When asked about what he felt after his first PBA championship, Malonzo said he was blessed.
“It feels good, it feels good to be a part of something special. I don’t know if we broke the record for fans tonight but man, a part of something like that is special and I’m speechless. I’m blessed for sure.” said Malonzo.
Furthermore, Christian Standhardinger was awarded the Finals MVP.
This championship marks the 15th of the franchise in their history of the PBA.