(Mall of Asia Arena)
5:45 p.m. — Bay Area vs Ginebra
An emotional — but limping — Bay Area is expected to come out strong as it collides with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in Game 4 of its Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup best-of-seven finals series today at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Game time is 5:45 p.m. with the Kings seeking for a victory that will draw them closer to the title of the midseason conference while the Dragons wanting to gain a payback to level the series at 2-2.
On the heels of their 82-89 loss in Game 3, the Dragons couldn’t control their frustrations and vented their ire on social media.
Myles Powell, who was sidelined by an injury and was reduced into a mere cheerleader, blasted the officiating following his team’s endgame meltdown against the Kings.
“You all saying we shot 21 free throws in Game 2 and you only shot only five proves exactly my point. Something ain’t right clearly. The refs making the difference between who wins or not when it should just be a fair-called game,” Powell posted on Twitter.
In Game 3, Ginebra appeared to have benefitted from the number of fouls called.
A total of 28 fouls were slapped on Bay Area, which allowed Barangay Ginebra to shoot 38 times from the free throw area and make 24 of them.
In contrast, Bay Area shot only 10 times and made only four.
Hayden Blankley, who grew up playing against Filipino players in Australia, was fond of local culture, but showed his disappointment and insinuated unfair officiating.
The local word “luto” has a negative meaning in local basketball parlance and it appears that Blankley has started to learn it more while playing in the PBA.
He also shared to Twitter his frustrations.
“I’ve got nothing but love for the Philippines and its people, but at this point, it’s obvious. Just let it be a fair game, please. As the local word would say — it’s ‘cooked,’” Blankley posted.
But the drama involving these two teams had to be settled inside the basketball court and a bigger concern for Bay Area is the health condition of import Andrew Nicholson.
Nicholson had his worst performance in the tournament as he came up with a conference-low 23 points before tweaking his ankle after a bad landing during a rebound struggle with Scottie Thompson.
A veteran from the National Basketball Association, the Canadian slotman was having a difficult time getting up and couldn’t put weight on his injured ankle.
He had to be helped out by his teammates on his way back to the bench and wasn’t able to continue the match.
The PBA Commissioner’s Office waited until 12 noon Thursday if there’s a request for change of import. But no request was made, which means that the Dragons are looking to field Nicholson for the all-important Game 4.
Powell was placed on the injured list prior to the start of the championship series due to an acute hyperextension injury to his left toe.
For the Kings, it’s going to be business as usual as they will try to ride on the momentum of their big come-from-behind victory in Game 3.
Ginebra unloaded a telling 11-0 run in the final three minutes on its way to complete its comeback in a game dominated by the foreign squad for about 45 minutes.
The Kings won despite shooting a woeful 34 percent (29-of-83) from the field while Bay Area had a much better shooting, hitting 43 percent (33-of-76).
Meanwhile, the league’s trade machine keeps on humming as NorthPort sent Allyn Bulanadi to San Miguel Beer in exchange for Paul Zamar and a second-round draft pick in the league’s 51st season in 2025.
The Beermen will be Bulanadi’s second team in a span of 48 hours as he got traded from Converge for Jerrick Balanza on Wednesday.