Bay Area reactivates their Dragon in Myles Powell for Game 6

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ACTION-STARVED 6’2” Myles Powell returns to active duty. — PHILIPPINE STAR/RUSSELL PALMA

Game Today(Smart Araneta Coliseum)5:45 p.m. — Bay Area vs Ginebra(Ginebra leads series, 3-2)

WITH Barangay Ginebra poised for the kill shot, besieged Bay Area is preparing an ambush with a newly-reactivated weapon — one that the Gin Kings never dealt with before — at the forefront.

Action-starved Myles Powell returned to active duty vice the injured Andrew Nicholson (ankle sprain) as the Dragons carry out their do-or-die mission in Game 6 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Mr. Powell whipped up a storm in the eight games he played in the eliminations, averaging 37.25 points, 8.38 rebounds, three assists and two steals, before going down on “severe foot injury” and giving way to Mr. Nicholson in the playoffs.

As Mr. Nicholson struggles to hit 100 percent after missing the last two games, the desperate Dragons deemed it best to roll the dice with Mr. Powell, who hasn’t played or even practiced since leading Bay Area to a 140-108 rout of TNT in its elims wrapup last Nov. 23.

Mr. Powell’s surprising re-installment forces the Gin Kings to a quick recalibration of tactics for the title-clincher attempt at 5:45 p.m.

“It’s going to change their game and it’s going to have to change the way we play our defense,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone of the import switch, which became a possibility when Mr. Nicholson limped out of Game 3.

After getting comfortable scheming against the 6-foot-10 Mr. Nicholson, Cone’s troops have little time to plot against the 6-foot-2 Mr. Powell, who was also in the reserve list when Ginebra and Bay Area initially faced off in the elims.

Best import Justin Brownlee and Ginebra’s backcourt troopers from Best Player of the Conference Scottie Thompson to “Ironman” LA Tenorio (if he’s cleared to play after suffering an abdominal strain in Game 5) to defensive guard Nards Pinto will have their hands full in this closeout bid.

Dragons’ locals Hayden Blankley, Kobey Lam, Zhu Songwei and Liu Chuanxing are as tough as they get, stealing a series-tying 94-86 victory in Game 4 without an import and pushing Ginebra to the limit in a fighting 101-91 loss in Game 5 without Nicholson and top playmaker Glen Yang.

“It’s a tough group and they’re really well-coached and disciplined,” said Mr. Cone.

If they successfully slay the Dragons, the Gin Kings will capture their fourth PBA championship in the last six conferences. If the Dragons survive, they will set the stage for a winner-take-all decider on Friday the 13th at the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan with a chance to be the first foreign guest team to win a PBA conference since Nicholas Stoodley in 1980. — Olmin Leyba