It’s been a long time coming, but the PBA is finally filling up the rafters once again with crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra tangling up with the visiting Bay Area Dragons on Jan 15 at the gigantic Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. With the finals’ game-count tied at 3 wins apiece, fans wait with bated breaths as the 2 cage juggernauts bang bodies to determine who will raise the PBA Commissioner’s Cup trophy this Sunday. Shall it be the Gins’ lucky charm, Justin Brownlee, who has raked in 5 PBA titles to his credit? Or will it be that scoring machine, Myles Powell, whose Dragons are intent to make their own history as well?
Brownlee has had a perfect slate in the PBA, having scored a monster 5 championships out of 5 tries so far. A win tonight will give him an unblemished and enviable slate of 6 titles out of 6 campaigns, an unprecedented record so far! Myles Powell, on the other hand, tries to impress as the only player in the tourney to have finished with a no-loss card, having won in all the 9 games he has suited up to play. One of these records – Justin’s 5 of 5, or Myles’ 9 of 9 – will be broken at the end of the day. Who will take the fall? The Gins’ Justin or the Dragons’ Myles?
Myles has taken over the leadership role in the court after Bay Area’s main man, the lanky Andrew Nicholson, was sidelined after suffering a sprained ankle in Game 4 of this Finals series. Myles re-entry, after having been deactivated due to injuries, took the Gins by total surprise, leading to the Dragons’ surprise come-from-behind win in Game 6, 87-84, before a sellout crowd of more than 22,000 screaming fans at the Araneta Coliseum. With that, the Dragons were able to force a winner-take-all game 7.
This time, there will be no surprises as Gins’ coach Tim Cone has been given enough time to conjure ways to stop the prolific Myles. However, the long prep time for Game 7 has also provided an advantage to the Dragons, giving the team more time for Myles to recuperate from his recent injury. Will a better-prepared defense against Myles work for the Gins? Or will a well-rested and better-healed Myles Powell bring home the bacon for the Dragons?
The visiting Dragons have been a great addition to the playing teams in the PBA this season. Their entry has added so much interest in the PBA games, and this epic finals series, notching up 20 thousand plus live attendance per game regularly, has surely resuscitated the perceived waning interest in the league. The Dragons are gunning to be the third guest team to win a PBA crown since the power-packed Nicolas Stoodley team in 1980, and the Northern Cement in 1984, bannered then by the country’s national team.
With the series extended to a winner-take-all game 7, interest for the game – and the league – has once again soared immensely. The venue was changed to the humungous Philippine Arena precisely to accommodate the thousands of fans who would like to watch this epic match. And it is expected to break the attendance records, this being the crowd faves Barangay Ginebra going up against a strong foreign team in a do-or-die game 7. The Dragons are itching to fly home to Hongkong with the coveted PBA Commisssioner’s Cup trophy; and the Gins are the last stumbling block to this grandiose dream. Who will win it all? Will the Dragons be able to bring the crown to Hongkong? Or will the Gins be able to stop this grand larceny at the Arena?
Watch for it this Sunday!
For a closer look, just click on the pics. Cover Photo courtesy of Xinhua. Other photos courtesy of The Manila Times, Metro News Central, the Manila Standard, Team Pilipinas, The Manila Bulletin, and the Philippine Star.