Ginebra a win away from PBA title after taking down Bay Area in Game 5

Stanley Pringle’s big game was just in time for another Ginebra win (PBA Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel moved one win away from another PBA championship title after outdueling the Bay Area Dragons, 101-91, in the ongoing finals series of the Commissioner’s Cup last January 8, 2023.

Despite the pressure from all the thousands of Filipino fans in attendance, the Ginebra squad still stuck to their game plan and struck first in the game after building an early double-digit lead against the foreign guest team.

Stanley Pringle had his best game of the finals series so far after pouring in 20 points built from an incredible 6/9 shooting from the three-point range.

Pringle’s huge baskets halted Bay Area’s last-minute comeback attempt including the two most important three-pointers that ballooned Ginebra’s lead back to double-digits, 97-86.

Shades of Game 4 were again on the way as Bay Area came alive in the last five minutes of the final canto but Pringle answered the call for the whole Ginebra team.

Ginebra’s preparations also went back to square one as Bay Area’s import Andrew Nicholson still missed the game due to his ongoing injury as well as starting point guard Glen Yang.

Head coach Tim Cone then adjusted quickly with his defensive schemes as he focused on Bay Area’s money man Kobey Lam who single-handedly tore them apart during their last game’s loss.

“Today, that was the difference. Today, we knew we have a scheme for Lam. We have a scheme for Zhu. We know how we wanted to match up. We talked more about Liu and Reid. We just have a better feel of what we wanted to do tonight,” said Cone.

Everything just clicked for Ginebra from the get-go as their signature triangle offense worked to perfection while locating their open shooters in the two corners every time Pringle drove to the basket.

Aside from Pringle’s resurgence, Justin Brownlee also put on a scoring clinic and remained consistent being efficient from the field as he dropped 37 big points, eight rebounds, four blocks and three steals.

Hayden Blankley was the only bright spot for the foreign guest team after contributing 29 points but was still not enough to spearhead their comeback attempt in the fourth.

It was all Ginebra from start to finish after building their cushion to as much as 18 points, 76-58, and never squandered their lead until the final buzzer.