Barangay Ginebra PBA champion


MANILA, Philippines—Barangay Ginebra’s latest title conquest in the Philippine Basketball Association had the club climbing the league’s hallowed grounds.

The Gin Kings on Friday night claimed their 14th title overall after battling through a bevy of adversities—from manpower woes to problems in poise—in a Governors’ Cup campaign that looked more like a trek than a bid. It was, no doubt a glorious triumph. But it was also much more than that, according to team governor Alfrancis Chua. It was a message.

“Everybody was saying we were out,” he told the Inquirer in the din of the revelries inside of a packed Mall of Asia Arena that night. “People were saying, writing that (Justin) Brownlee no longer has the legs, that (LA) Tenorio is old. (Guess who is) laughing now? LA just finished with 30 points,” he went on.

Ginebra nipped Meralco, 103-92, shutting down their perennial punching back in six games to stay as the most dominant force by winning their fourth Governors’ Cup in the last five editions of this tournament.

Chua, who also serves as San Miguel Corp.’s sports director, believes the campaign should also put other opposing PBA teams on notice.

“For the past years or so, for so many conferences, it’s a San Miguel team that ends up a champion,” he said. “(TNT) was able to sneak on us. But we are back.”

“For me, that’s the most important,” he went on.

San Miguel teams have swept the pioneering pro league’s last six seasons, except for the Philippine Cup which the Tropang Giga won in runaway fashion.

Even making Friday’s championship sweeter is that Ginebra also mirrored TNT and Chot Reyes’ run-up to the All Filipino title.

But his charges’ feat is much more riveting, offered Chua.

“TNT, NLEX and then Meralco? TNT also did that to (us, San Miguel, and then Magnolia). They ran over all of us (at San Miguel). This is payback,” he said.“But we went through the eye of the needle with this one,” he went on. “If you look back, our enemies were all at full strength. But we showed heart, and we showed just how Ginebra fights.”

“We just kept on fighting. Truly ‘never say die,’” Chua added.


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