In a heart-stopping game, Barangay Ginebra showed off their NSD (never-say-die) spirit to rally past San Miguel Beer, 87-85, and complete a 3-0 semis sweep in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday, March 29.
Ginebra overcame a seven-point deficit, highlighted by a strong finishing kick with Christian Standhardinger sinking the winning shot off a pass from Justin Brownlee.
The Gin Kings had already beaten San Miguel Beer convincingly in the first two games of the series, but the third game proved to be a real test of their mettle.
Despite falling behind by as many as 18 points, the crowd darlings refused to give up and were rewarded with a hard-earned victory.
Ginebra mounted a furious comeback from a six-point deficit with less than three minutes remaining in the game.
Thanks to Brownlee, Standhardinger, and Jeremiah Gray, who combined for a flurry of big shots and stops to turn the game around.
Standhardinger’s marginal bucket put the finishing touches to Ginebra’s fightback from a seven-point deficit in the last 3:04.
Salvaging the clincher and securing their spot in the championship round for the fifth time in the last six editions of the season-ending meet.
Speaking after the game, coach Tim Cone hailed the team’s resilience and never-say-die spirit, which he said was epitomized by the NSD (never-say-die) mantra.
He admitted he had been ready to give up on the prospect of a 3-0 sweep at various points during the game, but the players refused to quit.
Ginebra’s next challenge is to go up against either familiar rival Meralco or TNT, which are currently locked in a 1-1 standoff.
With their current momentum and strong willpower, the three-peat-seeking Gin Kings are poised to give their all in the finals.
Coach Tim Cone praised his team’s perseverance and dedication, saying, “If I may borrow from coach Sonny (Jaworski), it’s NSD, never-say-die, at its finest.”
The veteran coach added, “Every timeout, I was looking into their eyes, at their body language to see if they’re ready to pack it in and go fight on Friday. But I never saw it so I stayed with them. We made a couple of big shots and nice stops and before we knew it, we won the game.”
Brownlee, Thompson, and Standhardinger posted double-double numbers in the clincher, with Brownlee leading the way with 22 markers, 14 rebounds, and seven assists.
The team’s collective effort and determination in the face of adversity were truly admirable.
Ginebra’s victory over mighty SMB in a three-straight win is a testament to their hard work and dedication to their craft.
Fans can only hope that the Gin Kings will continue to bring their A-game to the finals and bring home the championship trophy.
Ginebra 87 – Brownlee 22, Thompson 17, Standhardinger 14, Gray 13, Malonzo 12, Pinto 4, Pessumal 3, Mariano 2, Pringle 0.
San Miguel 85 – Clark 16, Perez 14, Lassiter 13, Cruz 12, Enciso 11, Tautuaa 6, Herndon 6, Ross 5, Manuel 2.