By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings are Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup champions again after two decades following their closeout of erstwhile defending champs San Miguel Beermen in Game Six of their best-of-seven finals series, 93-77, on Wednesday to come out on top, 4-2.
Going on a fiery second half, the Kings sped past the Beermen who simply could not recover from the dust left by the latter en route to losing their title.
It marked the first time Barangay Ginebra had won the Commissioner’s Cup since 1997 when it was still playing as the Gordon’s Gin Boars.
Both teams got off to a slow start, failing to hit the double-digit mark midway into the opening quarter at 8-6, with the Kings on top.
They jostled the rest of the rest of the way with the Beermen eventually managing to rear ahead, 17-14, at the end of the first 12 minutes of the contest.
The second quarter started with Barangay Ginebra tying the count at 17-all with just a minute lapsing off a triple from Jeff Chan.
But the Beermen would respond with a 16-6 run, led by June Mar Fajardo, in the next six minutes to build a 10-point cushion, 33-23.
With Justin Brownlee finding some groove, he was able to help Barangay Ginebra to narrow the gap at 38-35 by halftime.
The Kings sustained their strong finish in the first half, going on a tear to start the third period.
They went on a 16-4 blitz to overtake the Beermen and build a 51-42 edge at the 5:55 mark.
San Miguel tried to rally back but struggled to find its mark en route to finding itself buried by 16 points, 62-46, heading into the final frame.
Barangay Ginebra went for an early kill to begin the fourth, as Mr. Brownlee and Scottie Thompson continued to pile in the points.
The Kings held a 15-point lead, 78-63, with five minutes remaining, extending it to a 22-point cushion, 85-63, by the 4:16 mark and never looked back after.
Mr. Brownlee led the Kings with 31 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists.
Greg Slaughter had 13 points while Mr. Thompson, named finals most valuable player, finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Mr. Fajardo, meanwhile, paced the Beermen with 29 points and 15 rebounds.
Import Renaldo Balkman had 24 points and 14 boards.
“This (winning a championship) never gets old. It is such a great feeling. Wow!” a jubilant Brownlee, who has won three PBA titles with the Kings, said after the game.
“It’s a great night for us. Having won three straight games after that two losses. I am very proud of this team,” said Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone.