JAMIE Malonzo and Scottie Thompson hit big shots in the endgame to lift Barangay Ginebra to a grind-out 89-82 win over Bay Area on Wednesday before an animated crowd at the SM Mall of Asia Arena to take a 2-1 lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
Thompson broke a 79-79 deadlock with a putback over Bay Area import Andrew Nicholson before Malonzo drained a three with 50.6 seconds remaining, completing a classic never-say-die comeback from as much as a 14-point deficit.
Bouncy songs like ‘Noypi’ and ‘Pinoy Ako’ were played during the timeout following the Malonzo triple to the delight of the home fans before the Gin Kings held on to move two wins away from another PBA championship with Justine Brownlee.
Justin Brownlee had 34 points and 17 rebounds. Although he struggled on 9-of-24 shooting from the field, the longtime Ginebra import hit a key jumper to spark a 13-0 run that was finished off by Thompson and Malonzo.
READ: Nicholson taken to hospital after Game 3 injury
Christian Standhardinger added 15 points while LA Tenorio had 14 points, none bigger than the three-pointer that brough Ginebra within striking distance of the Dragons in a thrilling endgame.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone was relieved to escape with a victory in a game where his team didn’t play well until the final moments.
“I have to look at the video and see what we did. I’m a little bit surprised,” said Cone.
Andrew Nicholson had 23 points and 24 rebounds but suffered an ankle sprain late in the game where the Dragons led, 59-45, in the third quarter and were still ahead, 79-72, before the late comeback.
He had to be taken out on a wheelchair shortly after the game.
Barangay Ginebra 89 – Brownlee 34, Standhardinger 15, Thompson 14, Malonzo 10, Tenorio 8, Pringle 5, J. Aguilar 3, Gray 0, Pinto 0, Mariano 0.
Bay Area 82 – Nicholson 23, Lam 17, Zhu 12, Yang 11, Blankley 10, Ewing 3, Ju 2, Song 2, Liu 2, Reid 0.
Quarters: 16-16; 35-37; 56-63; 89-82.