That old never-say-die magic
Tim Cone, in fact, admitted the title triumph, already his 19th in the Philippine Basketball Association, was achieved by the players, with him practically having nothing to do with it.
Nothing truly unusual, it was not the first time Cone would downplay his vital role on a glorious championship night.
Of course, majority in the boiling horde of Ginebra fanatics would not hesitate to claim that the mesmerizing win, achieved under great stress, was won with the fabled Ginebra never-say-die spirit.
So how did Ginebra jump back from behind to capture the crown?
With desire and hunger, if we are to believe the veteran tandem of Mark Caguioa and Jay-jay Helterbrand, who would be singled out by Cone as most amazing and solid on the floor Wednesday night.
There was the old reliable firebrand LA Tenorio who shone all night, to bag the championship MVP award.
Import Justin Brownlee was a real stunner, mainly with his buzzer-beating win-win triple from far center court.
But then, we’ve to also believe what’s been generally viewed that Meralco was overall the stronger and superior squad at the overfilled Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Coach Norman Black—it would not be right to tag him losing coach—would humbly swear their brilliant runner-up finish in the Governors’ Cup augurs well for the once unheralded Meralco franchise.
The great thing here is that Cone, after presiding over another championship run, the first by Ginebra in eight years, has reportedly promised to rebuild the fabulous Ginebra dynasty with that huff-and-puff catch-up win.
That’s not easy to buy, going by the uneven make-up of the resurgent Ginebra squad.
Still there are those who would love to pursue the possibility of a fierce Ginebra-Meralco rivalry, considering that the two franchises belong to two major rival conglomerates—San Miguel and MVP—in the PBA.
Looking back, Ginebra may indeed own at least a couple of tested fighters in the mold of original Ginebra warriors in the person of Caguioa and Helterbrand.
On the other hand, Meralco was never lacking in great never-say-die warriors, counting on the services of rock-solid Reynel Hugnatan and the ageless Jimmy Alapag.
All told, it’s truly hard to determine whether or not there’s a patent, or secret, behind this magical win-win formula perfected by the old Barangay Ginebra under the stewardship of living legend Robert Jaworski.
Of course, it would do Ginebra a great good if they asked Robert Jaworski, its author and founder.
Jaworski, who visited embattled Ginebra during the halftime break, was mainly responsible for making that old magical win-win spirit tangible for all fans to behold and believe.
The Big J may indeed have the patent.