Plenty of PBA fans believed the Ginebra vs Bay Area matchup had the makings of a solid finals series for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup. The Dragons will challenge Barangay Ginebra as their tall and talented roster rarely let up throughout the conference.
However, the Gin Kings made a statement game to give their legions of fans a dominant win on Christmas Day. The Dragons will be looking to bounce back and put the series on even footing.
Justin Brownlee and Andrew Nicholson will be the central focus of their opponents’ defensive schemes. However, both sides have talented players who can back up their star man on offense or defense.
This OKBET piece will look into what happened in the last game, what fans can expect from both teams, and what the bookies think will happen in this match.
A Christmas Day Miracle for Ginebra
The Mall of Asia Arena was packed with Barangay Ginebra fans to cheer on their Gin Kings. Game 1 of the Ginebra vs Bay Area series seemed unpredictable as both teams were dominant in the regular season.
The game started on the wrong foot for Ginebra after making three turnovers during the first six minutes. However, the Gin Kings were able to keep the Dragons close, ending the first quarter with a 22-25 score.
Barangay Ginebra roared to life in the second quarter. L.A. Tenorio tested Nicholson’s interior defense as he used his speed to drive toward the rim repeatedly.
Christian Stanhardinger used the same tactic as his teammate but approached it differently. The Bulldozer kept forcing his way into the rim, and the Bay Area big men couldn’t put a lid on his inside scoring.
The second quarter ended 45-40 for the Gin Kings. The Dragons, led by Nicholson and Koby Lam, did all they could to get back into the game in the second half. However, the Gin Kings rode the momentum of their second-quarter burst and never looked back. Barangay Ginebra emerged as 96-81 winners after the final whistle.
Justin Brownlee was Tim Cone’s top player in Game 1, netting 28 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists on 56% shooting.
Tenorio and Stanhardinger were the keys to Tim Cone’s Christmas Day win. Tenorio logged a solid stat line of 22 points, two rebounds, and three assists while shooting 3-of-7 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Stanhardinger had 16 points and ten rebounds with 66% FG.
The Dragons saw some of their players fall short. Nicholson managed to come through for Bay Area, ending the night with 27 points and 12 rebounds on 58% shooting. Lam had 11 points and six assists to his name.
Barangay Ginebra: Building on a Solid Game 1
If the Gin Kings want the Ginebra vs Bay Area series to end in a sweep, they need to take better care of the basketball. While they were able to seal the game in the second quarter, their turnovers in the previous quarter allowed Bay Area to take the lead. If their shots were falling, the Gin Kings would find themselves in a ditch they couldn’t crawl out of.
The team also needs their local stars to continue producing the way they did in Game 1. They must keep on attacking the rim if the Bay Area defense doesn’t find a way to seal the interior.
Finally, they must address their perimeter defense. Cone should be frustrated that the Dragons made 42 three-point attempts against them. They’re fortunate that their opponents were misfiring the entire game.
Bay Area: Establishing Their Presence Down Low
Coach Brian Goorjian already knows what cost them the W in the series opener. They couldn’t stop Ginebra’s big men from doing whatever they wanted in the paint. While the Gin Kings only had four more rebounds than Bay Area’s 35, it’s hard to deny that Bay Area could not stop their opponents from attacking their interior without abandon.
Their players also need to step up. While Nicholson is averaging a ridiculous 38.5 PPG, Ginebra’s defensive scheme will limit his production. Lam, Blankley, Zhu Songwei, and the rest of the squad must pull their weight.
Considering the previous point, the team must make more of their long-range attempts. It’ll be useless for the Dragons to keep firing threes if they can’t convert from deep. They must punish Ginebra’s terrible perimeter defense with deadly long-range shooting.
Ginebra vs Bay Area Predictions
Ginebra will have to fend off a hungry Bay Area team firing from all cylinders. If they don’t adjust their defensive schemes, they’ll see another three-point barrage that could cost them the game. Nicholson will likely assert his dominance more aggressively from the tip.
Ginebra will count on Brownlee to keep on producing buckets. If Tenorio doesn’t cut down on his turnovers, he may help the Dragons go on a scoring run they will find hard to come back from.
The Bay Area Dragons should be able to even the series with their talent. However, the game will only be separated by a single possession.
Ginebra vs Bay Area Odds
The OKBET odds also point to a tight contest between the two juggernauts. They also expect the Bay Area Dragons to come out of the gates swimming to erase the bitterness of their Game 1 defeat.
|Winner||Handicap||Total Points @ 196||Winner 1st Half||Handicap 1st Half||Total Points 1st Half @ 92|
The Dragons are favored to win the match with a reasonable 1.68 outright odds. However, the small handicap recognizes Ginebra’s ability to turn the game on its head with a well-timed scoring run.
The bookies don’t believe that both teams will be able to score over 100 points. The assessment is fair if you consider the pace of PBA basketball and the context of the game.
If you’re looking for an exciting bet, choose Under 92 in the Total Points market. Both teams will employ tight defensive schemes, which would limit scoring for both ball clubs.
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