Ronald Tubid has had a long and fruitful career in the PBA, having played 16 seasons there — a feat that only a handful of players have achieved.
The pride of Iloilo city was a seven-time All-Star, two-time Mr. Quality Minutes awardee, a member of the 2009 All-Defensive team, and PBA’s Mr. Energy in 2007. He also has a total of nine championships under his belt, seven of which he took home while playing for the San Miguel Beermen — the team where he virtually ended his PBA career.
However, despite winning a bulk of his rings with the San Miguel franchise, it was a no-brainer that Tubid played his best years with another storied team in Barangay Ginebra.
The product of University of the East won his first career championship in the 2007 Philippine Cup. It was in Ginebra’s next championship voyage, though, that Tubid etched his mark in the hearts of the Barangay hopefuls.
The Kings hit a roller-coaster ride in the following season, losing several key players to injuries, which led to a failed title defense at the hands of Air21 in the wildcard phase.
It continued in the ensuing Fiesta conference, where Ginebra had three import changes before settling with Chris Alexander. And it did not help that the Kings lost Tubid in the elimination round with a dislocated ankle.
“Kasi ‘yung conference na ‘yun, parang dalawa o tatlong beses kaming nagpalit ng import. Parang 1-5 yata kami noon, 1-7, pero ‘yung team namin na ‘yon, confident na mananalo pa rin kami.
“Basta we stick together, parang walang pressure eh. Then we found out na nakakuha kami ng legit na seven-footer na import,” Tubid shared in Tiebreakers Vodcasts’ The CPT Crossover, presented by SMART.
With Alexander wreaking havoc in the paint, Ginebra was able to rise up from the ashes and won 10 of its last 13 games with a 10-8 card — enough for an outright quarterfinals berth.
The Kings swept Sta. Lucia in the quarterfinals stage, before running over a strong Red Bull side, taking its first-ever series sweep in franchise history en route to its 17th finals appearance. And all that with a depleted line-up.
As destiny would have it, Ginebra faced an Air21 side — Tubid’s previous team and also the same team that halted the King’s title defense in the last conference.
Ginebra — who was dealing with the injuries of Tubid, Junthy Valenzuela, Mark Caguioa, and Jayjay Helterbrand — fell to a 1-2 series disadvantage against a Gary David- and Arwind Santos-led Air21.
Upon seeing his squad battling through the injuries, all while hanging by a thread, Tubid mustered all his strength to make a comeback in Game Four, embodying Ginebra’s ‘Never Say Die’ mantra.
“Wala eh, nung time na ‘yun you want to win, you want to help your brothers. So parang panget din naman na mananalo ‘yung team, wala ka na-contribute, so kahit papaano kulang talaga sa player. Even Mark Caguioa, tinalian na lang ‘yung tuhod ng tape just to make sure na makalaro talaga siya kasi ‘yun ‘yung heart ng Ginebra eh,” shared Tubid,
“Never Say Die ng Ginebra hindi matatawaran, lalo sa fans.”
With Tubid back in the line-up, the Kings were able to snatch Game Four to tie the series at 2-2, which eventually went to a winner-take-all Game Seven.
There, Tubid cemented his place in the storied franchise.
Tubid poured 20 big points in the final game to tow Ginebra to a 97-84 Game Seven victory over Air21. He eventually won co-Finals MVP honors with Eric Menk.
Though Tubid has jumped from team to team after his stint with the Kings, he can still feel the love from the fans every time he faces his former team. And for that, he’s forever grateful.
“Palipat-lipat na nga ako ng team, pagdating sa Ginebra, hindi na nila ako binu-boo kasi alam nila ever since na once you’re a King, you will always be a King daw,” he said.
“So I’m so thankful na kahit saan kami mapunta, ‘ah dating Ginebra ‘yan, sumikat ‘yan sa Ginebra’, ganyan-ganyan. So parang ‘yung dream ng dad ko tapos ‘yung sinabi niya na ‘yan ‘yung pinakasikat na team, na-achieve ko na mapaglaruan.”