To the generations-spanning fandom of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), there remains one team perhaps that is always held as the epitome of the highly-skilled and utterly determined underdogs who will always wind the game. We are talking of course, of Barangay Ginebra, the PBA team made famous by iconic players like Robert Jaworski, and winner of multiple PBA championships since joining the league in 1979 as an expansion team. In recent years they have prevailed consecutive championships for the Governor’s Cup, but have been unlucky in the Commissioner’s Cup which they last won in 1997. This Wednesday however, Barangay Ginebra got its second Commissioner’s.
CNN Philippines reports that on Game 6 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals this August 8, Barangay Ginebra prevailed over its “brother” team the San Miguel Beermen at the Mall of Asia Arena, winning 93 to 77. In doing so the team acquired only their second title on the Commissioner’s Cup following the one from 1997, a good 21 years ago. Despite some scoring trouble as both teams clocked less than 33 percent in field goals, the famous Ginebra “underdog” determination pulled through thanks to masterful play their import Justin Brownlee, scoring the game-high 31 points and getting 19 rebounds.
And while the Beermen were able to hold on to a paltry 3-point lead by halftime, the Ginebra players went all out in play during the latter quarters, with 13 and 12-point contributions courtesy of Greg Slaughter and Scottie Thompson, respectively. Against the superior performance of Browlee in the game, San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo could barely keep up with only 29 player points and 15 rebounds. It was not enough to fuel any lead comebacks for the Beermen as the Barangay surged forward; the 31-all 4th quarter scores were offset grossly by the 3rd quarter’s 27-8 run by Ginebra.
While the top Barangay scorer was Justin Brownlee, ultimately it was Scottie Thompson who was accorded as the Commissioner’s Cup Finals MVP. In terms of team statistics, Ginebra’s victory this Wednesday was its 11th PBA title overall, and is also the 21st championship credits to veteran head coach Tim Cone. The Barangay’s preceding championship wins were in 2016 and 2017, all for the Governors’ Cup which comes after the Commissioner’s in a regular PBA season. If it is any comfort for the San Miguel Beermen, at least they won the 2017-18 Governors’ last April 6.
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, the San Miguel Beermen, and the Magnolia Hotshots are all PBA ball clubs owned by the SMC Group in the league.
Image courtesy of The Summit Express