In his biggest game yet, Jamie Malonzo delivers in title clincher for Ginebra
MANILA, Philippines—A diamond in the rough for Barangay Ginebra just four months ago, Jamie Malonzo played the game of his life on Sunday night in the winner-take-all Game 7 against Bay Area.
And boy did the two-way forward step up to the plate.
Malonzo, a sophomore formerly from NorthPort, put up 22 points and 17 rebounds to help the Gin Kings clinch the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup before a partisan crowd at Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
“For sure, I left it all on the line tonight,” Malonzo told reporters as the crowd darlings showered each other in booze in the team’s dugout. “Game 7 in my first Finals? I just wanted to, you know, get the job done.”
“I was telling my teammates, ‘Anything we got to do to win.’”
Malonzo figured prominently in a third quarter attack that kept the enemy on the ropes. He was eventually crowned the finest of the contest, capping off what has been a whirlwind second year in the pro league.
“When I got traded, I remember it was like yesterday. I was putting up shots at NorthPort and getting ready to play for a game on a Wednesday. I get a call, I remember (coach) Pido (Jarencio) yelling, saying take this phone call. And man, it happened, I got here,” he said.
“First thought was definitely was winning the chip. I didn’t know it’s gonna happen this soon. I knew it wasn’t gonna be easy. We’re playing against a great team, great coach. Some would be scared taking on such challenge but we’re here now and I’m happy.
It has been quite the sophomore year for Malonzo, who has also blossomed into a national team standout.
“It’s crazy. It’s really crazy, because I used to pray, have sleepless nights praying about Gilas, praying about possibly getting a team like this—a special group of guys. And it all sort of went in line. I’m just super grateful, to be honest,” he said.
“A lot of sleepless nights of praying for moments like this. I’m just super blessed this is happening. Surreal, surreal for sure.”
The blessings have been abundant for Malonzo. But he feels like he’s only just begun to start the surface of a storied PBA career.
“I still feel like I’m still growing. So much left to work on, so much to take on this off-season. (I’m going for a) break a couple of weeks [but] I just want to keep my foot on the gas. I just think I’m (going to get) better every conference.”