MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra slammed the door shut on San Miguel's hopes of a Grand Slam by taking home the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup title.
Inspired by a mammoth crowd of 20,490, the Gin Kings used a fiery second-half assault to dethrone the Beermen in 6 games of the best-of-7 affair with a 93-77 decision at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, August 8.
Justin Brownlee delivered a herculean effort of 31 points, 19 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 blocks and two steals as the Gin Kings, who trailed 1-2 in the series, won the next 3 contests for their 3rd championship in the last 6 conferences.
Brownlee, limited to 11 points in the first half, erupted for 10 points in the 3rd quarter alone and Ginebra swung a 35-38 halftime deficit to a 62-46 lead heading into the final quarter.
The Beermen failed to recover after seeing the Gin Kings' lead swell to as large as 22 points off back-to-back layups from Joe Devance and Jeff Chan, 85-63.
Ginebra's triumph wasn't just Brownlee's show.
Scottie Thompson submitted a double-double of 12 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists to win Finals Most Valuable Player while Greg Slaughter chipped in 13 points and 9 boards.
LA Tenorio added 11 points, 3 rebounds and two steals, Chan fired 10 points and Devance had 4 points and 6 rebounds in the win.
Ginebra winning the championship was an absurd idea a few months ago.
The Gin Kings started the conference with a dismal 1-5 record before going on an 8-game winning streak up to the semifinals, where they dispatched the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in 4 games to book a finals date with the Beermen.
"Who would've thought that we've been able to win this series? And who would have thought that we can win it in 6 games?" Ginebra coach Tim Cone said. "I'm amazed at the resilience of our players, the fight and the battle."
June Mar Fajardo paced San Miguel with 29 points and 15 rebounds while Renaldo Balkman churned out 24 points and 14 rebounds.
Brian Heruela added 11 points and 4 assists in the loss, which saw the backcourt of Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross go scoreless after missing all of their combined 17 shot attempts.
Ginebra (93): Brownlee 31, Slaughter 13, Thompson 12, Tenorio 11, Chan 10, Mercado 6, Ferrer 5, Devance 4, J. Aguilar 1
San Miguel (77): Fajardo 29, Balkman 24, Heruela 11, Cabagnot 6, Santos 5, Pessumal 2, Ross 0, Lassiter 0, Rosser 0, Vigil 0, Standhardinger 0
Quarter scores: 14-17, 35-38, 62-46, 93-77
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.