Who would’ve thought?
From being in a precarious spot early in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel have worked their way up the ranks, and on Wednesday night, they reached the very peak of success.
The Gin Kings have been crowned the new rulers of the mid-season joust, as they dethroned the heavily-favored San Miguel Beermen, 93-77, in Game Six of the Finals, in front of 20,490 fans at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
With the overwhelming triumph, the Barangay ended their 21-year Commissioner’s Cup title drought. This is also Ginebra’s 11th championship in franchise history.
“First of all, it’s all these people here that made this happen. You led us to this championship, I don’t know what we would have done without you,” said head coach Tim Cone, who won his 21st championship.
Despite being shorter than their counterparts, Justin Brownlee and Scottie Thompson towed the Gin Kings. Brownlee, the shortest Best Import in league history, had 31 points, 17 rebounds, and seven assists, while Thompson added 12 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists.
“This one never gets old, it’s always sweet. I’m just happy for my team. I hope we can do this again next conference,” added Brownlee, who won his third crown in the PBA – his fourth overall with a Philippine-based club team.
And the two powered Ginebra to a thunderous third quarter that saw the Gin Kings limit San Miguel to just eight points while finishing the quarter with a 21-4 rally.
“First of all, I still think they are still the best team,” Cone said about San Miguel. “They are going to have a lot of championships with June Mar there and that team. Those two losses, ‘yung tambak, coming from there and win three games in a row, I’m speechless. They’re the best!”
Ginebra would lead by as much as 22 points, 85-63, after a layup by Jeff Chan with four minutes left.
Chan chipped in 10 points off the bench.
June Mar Fajardo had 29 points and 15 rebounds, out-dueling Greg Slaughter, who only had 13 point and nine rebounds.
Brownlee’s buddy Renaldo Balkman had 24 points and 14 rebounds as well.
This is Ginebra’s second time to stall the mighty Beermen’s Grand Slam hopes. The first time was back in the 2017 Governor’s Cup quarterfinals, where they maximized their win-once incentive.
Ginebra 93 – Brownlee 31, Slaughter 13, Thompson 12, Tenorio 11, Chan 10, Mercado 6, Ferrer 5, Devance 4, J. Aguilar 1.
San Miguel 77 – Fajardo 29, Balkman 24, Heruela 11, Cabagnot 6, Santos 5, Pessumal 2, Ross 0, Lassiter 0, Rosser 0, Vigil 0, Standhardinger 0.
Quarterscores: 14-17, 35-38, 62-46, 93-77.