Ginebra closes out series vs San Miguel, wins 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup title

MANILA, Philippines - It’s all over! There will be no more Game 7 as Barangay Ginebra successfully ended San Miguel Beermen’s conference with a 93-77 win and closed the series out 4-2 on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Ginebra closes out series vs San Miguel, wins 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup title
“Mag-ingay ang mga ka-barangay!” Ladies and gentlemen, your 2018 Commissioner’s Cup Champions: the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings! Photo Credit: Twitter/pbaconnect

It was win-or-go-home for San Miguel as Ginebra needed just one more victory to dethrone the Beermen for the Commissioner’s Cup title.

Both teams intensified their defense as soon as the clock first ticked. The protagonists burned more than 3 minutes before they finally moved the scoreboard.

It was a slow and low-scoring ballgame at the end of the 1st quarter with SMB having the slim 17-14 advantage over Ginebra.

Both imports had their lowest opening quarter output in the entire series. Renaldo Balkman had 7 while Justin Brownlee had 6 after the first 12 minutes.

Coach Leo Austria was blindsided by Coach Tim Cone for fielding in the newly acquired Jeff Chan. The lefty shooter opened the 2nd period with a back-to-back triples followed by another trey from LA Tenorio.

San Miguel missed the offensive tenacity of Chris Ross in the second after the flashy guard got himself into foul trouble in the latter phase of the opener for squaring up against the tough Justin Brownlee.

The Beermen went to June Mar Fajardo in the shaded lane to counter the Gins’ domination at the three point territory. Fajardo manhandled Greg Slaughter under the basket and helped his team hit its first double-digit lead of the game.

Renaldo Balkman left earlier in the 2nd period after mildly twisting his left ankle. Justin Brownlee capitalized on Balkman’s absence to bring the lead down to 38-35 at the half.

Justin Brownlee, gave Barangay Ginebra another title
The smallest import of the conference, Justin Brownlee, gave Barangay Ginebra another title after eliminating San Miguel in Game 6 | Photo Credit:

Not a good 3rd quarter start for SMB as the Gins took the driver seat in just couple of minutes. 3 San Miguel scorers have been quiet for 2 straight games. Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos had hard time putting in some relevant numbers for their team.

Coach Austria had no other plays but to give Fajardo the ball and attack Slaughter for the deuce. Coach Cone on the other hand, had perfectly read SMB’s one-dimensional play and ordered his boys to clog the paint to deny Fajardo.

Not only San Miguel was running a single play all throughout but its players had gone loose on their defense that gave opportunity to Ginebra to attack the basket and post a 17-0 run for the 62-46 lead at the end of the 3rd period.

It seemed that Coach Leo Austria threw the towel too early as he started the 4th quarter without Renaldo Balkman and brought in his reserve point guard Brian Heruela.

Ginebra maintained its huge margin with over 6 minutes left in the final period. The Gins got even luckier as June Mar Fajardo committed his 5th personal foul and eventually got pulled out of the game.

It was not only Coach Leo Austria who seemed to give up in the fourth, his players too looked tired and gassed out as they watched the Gins run the floor and take the title away from them little by little.

At the 2-minute warning, the Gins found themselves ahead by 20 and Commissioner’s Cup trophy in their reach.

As the final horn sounded, the whole arena was field with Ginebra! Ginebra! chant and officially ended San Miguel’s reign.

Congratulations Barangay! The 2018 Commissioner’s Cup Champions! Never Say Die!

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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