Ginebra dumps Bay Area in Game 7 to win PBA title in front of record crowd
BOCAUE — Feeding off the mammoth crowd’s energy in a venue where it is nearly untouched, Barangay Ginebra on Sunday pulled out all the stops and hit all the necessary shots to crush Bay Area, 114-99, and claim the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Justin Brownlee delivered 34 points, eight rebounds spiked with 12 assists, while Jamie Malonzo fired 22 and more to help the Gin Kings claim their 15th title overall in a no-tomorrow Game 7 before a record 54,589 screaming souls at Philippine Arena here.
“We were totally surprised at how well we played and that we were able to handle Bay Area. The only explanation we can really give was that the crowd really lifted us to that performance,” said coach Tim Cone, the architect behind all of the club’s last seven conference titles that were won in as many seasons.
“The energy from the crowd really boosted us to levels I don’t think we could get to in this team,” added the seasoned mentor, whose personal collection also grew. Already the league’s winningest coach, Cone now has 25 championships under his belt.
The win also hikes Cone’s record in the cavernous arena with six wins against just a loss.
Reigning Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson turned in 18 points and nine rebounds while Christian Standhardinger added 12 and 10 that went with six assists to sustain a steadying presence that also helped him tab the Finals Most Valuable Player award.
Japeth Aguilar finished with 14 points off the bench to help deny Dragons a breakthrough victory in just their first year together—one that would’ve put them next to Northern Cement which won it all back in the league’s 1985 Reinforced Conference.
Bay Area drew 29 points from import Myles Powell. Hayden Blankley chipped in 25, while Liu Chuanxing 17 more, but faced against Ginebra’s indefatigable pair of Brownlee and Thompson—this tournament’s finest players—the visitors hardly stood a chance in the end.
“We didn’t want to play a Game 7. We were angry we had to play a Game 7. But I thought the guys put their anger where it needed to be and came out playing a really great one,” said Cone.