The mantra that made Ginebra a household name was also the same weapon that made it successful en route to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup crown.
The Kings essayed a feel-good finale to their storied journey when they clobbered San Miguel Beer, 93-77, in Game 6 of their best-of-seven finals showdown late Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
It was a victory fit for a king.
After starting losing all but one game in its first five matches, Ginebra roared back to life when import Justin Brownlee arrived from a successful campaign in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
Brownlee immediately turned things around, powering the Kings to eight consecutive wins to capture the fifth spot and book a quarterfinal battle against corporate rival Meralco.
The Kings easily brushed off the Bolts before dominating top seed Rain or Shine to march into a championship duel with the Beermen.
At that point, San Miguel seems indestructible.
With June Mar Fajardo, arguably the most dominant player in this generation, and Puerto Rican import Renaldo Balkman at the helm, the Beermen were coming in with six titles out of six conferences.
But Ginebra refused to be denied.
The Kings flashed the “never-say-die” attitude to perfection to crawl out of a 1-2 series deficit all the way to the crown.
Head coach Tim Cone had seen so many great victories in his three decades of professional coaching, but nothing is compared to the way the Kings fought their way out to down the mighty Beermen.
“Who would have though that we would even make the playoffs,” said Cone, shaking his head in disbelief.
“Who would have thought that we would be here from 1-5 recovery and we’d beat San Miguel in six games? Who would’ve thought it? I certainly didn’t.”
Cone, the league’s most triumphant mentor with 21 titles, said he was fortunate to be on the other side of history after the Kings snapped their 21-year drought for Commissioner’s Cup crown. JBU