Barangay Ginebra’s latest title conquest in the PBA had the club climbing the league’s hallowed grounds, after the Gin Kings last 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 strong message.
“Everybody was saying that we didn’t have a chance,” Chua told the Inquirer in the din of the revelries inside the packed Mall of Asia Arena. “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.”
Ginebra nipped Meralco, 103-92, shutting down their perennial punching back in six games to stay as the most dominant force in the season-ending conference by winning for the fourth time in the last five editions—all against the Bolts.
Chua, who also serves as San Miguel Corp.’s (SMC) sports director and the chief architect of the conglomerate’s PBA success, believes the campaign should also put other opposing PBA teams on notice.
“For the past several years, for so many conferences, it’s a San Miguel team that ends up a champion,” he said. “TNT snuck up on us in the Philippine Cup [after beating Magnolia]. But now we’re back.
“And for me, that’s the most important thing.”
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 was that Ginebra also mirrored what TNT and Chot Reyes did in their run-up to the all-Filipino title, when the Tropang Giga chopped down one SMC team after another on the way to the title.
“They (Tropang Giga) ran over all of us [at San Miguel],” Chua said. “This is payback.
“But we went through the eye of the needle on 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 concluded. INQ
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