The Philippine’s most popular basketball team, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, just ended an eight year title drought by winning the 2016 Governor’s Cup title in the most thrilling fashion – a buzzer beating three-pointer from the top of the key (by import Justin Brownlee).
But Ginebra’s crazy moments this season weren’t limited to the season-ending Governor’s Cup. In fact, as someone who’s watched the team throughout the entire 2015-2016 season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and an all-around hoops junkie, I believe it’s safe to say that they’ve had an incredibly crazy year full of ups and downs.
Here are the greatest, craziest, and most unreal games/moments of Ginebra’s past season (in chronological order), as seen on Sports5’s Youtube Channel (these are some of the most entertaining basketball you can watch online):
1. Ginebra comes back from 22 points down in the fourth quarter and beats NLEX (Dec. 13, 2015)
Down 22 points in the fourth? Ginebra just shrugs it off and goes on a rally led by rookie Scottie Thompson and Dave Marcelo. The Gin Kings faced crucial free throws and a missed lay-up in the final second on their way to a hard-earned win.
2. A Christmas Miracle in Manila Classico (Dec. 25, 2015)
This is one of the craziest basketball games you will ever see in your life. Ginebra’s down the entire fourth quarter and is trailing the Purefoods Star Hotshots by 11 points as the last 2 minutes of the game clocks in. They somehow find a way to come back and even had a chance to win at the buzzer but missed a wide open lay-up! In the overtime, only three point field goals are made (yes, it was a shootout) and the game ends with a buzzer beater three from Ginebra for the win. The fact that the game between the PBA’s two most popular teams took place on Christmas day was just icing on the cake.
3. Refs blow critical calls and Ginebra is eliminated by Globalport in the Philippine Cup (Dec. 27, 2015)
An elimination game for both Ginebra and Global Port goes to overtime and Globalport makes more clutch baskets near the end. With Ginebra down by a single possession and only seconds left in the game, refs miss out on crucial violations/calls on Globalport and Ginebra is eliminated. Ginebra coach Tim Cone takes several minutes complaining to referees but Ginebra ultimately doesn’t submit a formal complaint to the league office.
4. Tim Cone gets a technical as Ginebra loses to Rain or Shine in the Commissioner’s Cup Quarterfinals (April 17, 2016)
Even as the higher seed, Ginebra lost the first game of a best of three quarterfinals series against eventual Commissioner’s cup champions Rain or Shine. Most memorable from this game is the technical foul that coach Tim gets late and then him not doing the play-calling anymore due to his frustration. Jeff Chan also hit a very clutch jumper to seal the win for ROS.
5. Japeth Aguilar buzzer beater against San Miguel in Game 3 of the Governor’s Cup Semifinals (Sept. 30, 2016)
With the semifinals series against San Miguel tied at 1-1, Ginebra got their second win through a Japeth Aguilar buzzer beater. But they had to take two shots prior and get the rebound twice before settling down and setting up Japeth to take the final shot…and they did all of it in 20 seconds and without calling a timeout.
6. The Fast and the Furious rally Ginebra from 16 down in game 4 of the finals (Oct. 14, 2016)
Crazy, crazy game. Ginebra was up by 11 at halftime and then got blitzed by Meralco in the third quarter, allowing the bolts to score 39 points. The Gin Kings were down 16 by the time the fourth quarter started. Had Ginebra lost this game, they would’ve been down 3-1 and most probably would’ve lost the series. But Mark Caguioa and Jay Helterbrand, former league MVPs and now Ginebra legends had different plans. Together, they sparked a fast and furious 16-0 run to tie the game, and eventually take the lead. Jayjay Helterbrand who was celebrating his 40th birthday was incredible in the comeback, going 4-4 from the field with 3 of his shots being long bombs. This was the game that defined Ginebra’s never say die spirit in the series.
7. Brownlee’s buzzer beater three for the championship (Oct. 19, 2016)
Eight years without winning a championship. Eight years of pain and frustration. And it all came down to this. Game 6 of the 2016 Governor’s Cup finals with Ginebra up 3-2. Tied ballgame with 5.5 seconds left and Ginebra with the ball. Ginebra fans held their cellphones up. Top of the key three, no time left, bang. Ginebra are champions once again.