Back on the throne
Barangay Ginebra fans crammed themselves into every available space at the jampacked Mall of Asia Arena Wednesday night.
The Gin Kings then sent home wildly-cheering, red-and-white faithful exhilarated.
Leaving nothing to chance, the Kings roughed up the San Miguel Beermen and easily came away with a blowout victory in the series, 93-77, to add another PBA Commissioner’s Cup to their trophy collection.
“San Miguel is the best team and has multiple titles. But for one night, for this night, we are the best team,” said Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone. “Tomorrow, they are the best team again.”
Scottie Thompson typified the hunger that Ginebra displayed in closing out the Beermen in six games and became the first player out of Perpetual Help to secure the league’s Honda Philippines Finals MVP.
All it took was an unequaled surge of energy from the Kings early in the second half to break the Beermen as they rode to an 11th franchise crown and second title in the same conference after topping the 1997 edition at the expense of Alaska.
Justin Brownlee, who finished with 31 points and 19 rebounds, and Thompson were the main guns for Barangay Ginebra, but the Kings also drew support from Greg Slaughter and LA Tenorio, who drained a killer three that put them up by 14. They never looked back from there to the delight of a majority of the 20,490 fans.
Thompson, an explosive two-way guard on his third year, averaged 10.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists in the series, reaching peak form in their pivotal Game 5 win.
“Scottie definitely deserves it. He never had a downtime and he had incredible energy,” said Cone, who now has 21st conference titles under his belt.
Nobody really thought that the Gin Kings could go all the way to the Finals and beat the Beermen, the current All-Filipino champs, in six games.
“We’re down 1-5 (at the start of the conference), so who would have thought that we would be able to match up with San Miguel and win the series?” Cone said.
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