THE Ginebra Gin Kings have triumphed in this year’s iteration of the Commissioner’s Cup, beating the vaunted San Miguel Beermen in the process.
But when was the last time the league’s most popular ballclub defeated its sister company in the big stage?
Today, FOX Sports PH takes a trip down memory lane back in the 2007 All-Filipino Cup Finals.
The two teams had to face grueling semifinals matches as both went to at least six games. But alas, it was the Jong Uichico-led Ginebra up against the Chot Reyes-led San Miguel. With these two facing head-to-head, a lot of fireworks are to be expected.
Game 1 saw the Beermen deploying LA Tenorio at the starting lineup, with Olsen Racela coming off the bench. Tenorio’s defense and Lordy Tugade’s torrid shooting led San Miguel to a dominating win to put them up 1-0.
In Game 2, the game was nip-and-tuck up to half time. However, San Miguel annihilated Ginebra in the third canto, putting them up ahead in double-digits coming in to the last period. The Gin Kings tried to make a comeback but Rafi Reavis botched two crucial free throws that would’ve tied the game.
Down 0-2 with their backs against the wall, the Barangay Ginebra lived up to its fabled mantra “Never Say Die” as they took command in this series – with three straight double-digit wins, all leading up to Game 6. One key adjustment made by Jong Uichico is implementing a zone defense at key stretches of the game to throw off San Miguel. It’s safe to say that it has worked wonders for Ginebra.
Game 6 was a much different story as compared to most games in this series where it ended in a one-sided blowout as the two SMC-backed teams went toe-to-toe all the way to the dying moments.
With the Gin Kings leading by one in the last minute, sharpshooter Lordy Tugade’s three-pointer went in for the Beermen, giving them a 94-92 lead. In the ensuing possession, Jayjay Helterbrand drove hard in the middle and kicked it out for a long two-pointer made by Sunday Salvacion, knotting the game up at 94. As San Miguel tried once again for a Tugade three-pointer, he missed the shot and the ball went out of bounds in favor of Ginebra. And in the game’s marginal possession, Helterbrand sank two big free throws, giving them the lead – and the franchise’s seventh title for good.
As the confetti and balloons fell from the rafters, the crowd inside the Araneta Coliseum was in pandemonium. Thanks to his heroics, Jayjay Helterband was dubbed as the Finals MVP.
With a much-different cast 11 years later, Ginebra did it again by ending their Commissioner’s Cup drought.
(Photo Courtesy of Barangay Ginebra Facebook page)