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Have we given up on Barangay Ginebra?

I’m not going to lie. I am a die-hard Barangay Ginebra fan, and I am in the excruciating process of erasing the memory of the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup from my mind.

I was one of the legion of Ginebra faithfuls who were in euphoria when our team ended the 2014 All Filipino Cup eliminations as the top seed. I can even recall that I tweeted in pure joy, “Hello penthouse suite (of the) standings!”

Ginebra looked so promising and so determined to go higher. That was just December of last year, a little over four months ago. My goodness, it feels so long ago.

I honestly thought that the six-year title drought would end that time but the team lost to the eventual champions in Game 7 of the semifinals. For me, last conference was a gallant stand and I thought that with what I had seen, there’s no other way to go but up.

Here comes the Commissioner’s Cup. I can safely assume that almost everyone rooting for Barangay Ginebra is hyped and excited before the conference started.

Expectations were way up in the roof for everything – the locals, the import, and the coaching staff. Everyone, including me, hoped for a better Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.

Why not? We were just one win away from entering the Finals in the 2014 Philippine Cup. We could certainly do it again, we could even win it all. It’s not like we were shooting for the stars. With the line-up we have, winning the championship was not impossible.

But as they say, the higher your expectations, the greater the disappointment.

As I hang around Twitter almost every Ginebra game day, I witnessed the outburst of my fellow fans with each defeat. It was almost just as loud as in every victory, only scarier. That just shows that the fans are longing for consistency.

Conspiracy theories even went as far as red jerseys meant losing and Cuneta Astrodome meant winning. I guess we just wanted an explanation why the team could not string together a winning streak. It felt like we were shooting for the stars. Suddenly, even just having back-to-back wins became impossible.

The team falling down to the 8th spot after the eliminations round was something the fans did not ever imagine, and more so, the early exit in the quarterfinals. Twice-to-beat disadvantage against the league leaders, it should have been a war, but it did not feel like one. For us fans, it was the worst feeling ever; as if there was never a battle at all.

There I was again, watching Twitter explode. You can ask one Ginebra fan what went wrong and I can tell you that s/he can give you a list of reasons. See, Ginebra fans are really opinionated. We do not just accept defeat and turn the other cheek. We speak our mind, well, as I saw it, we tweet our mind.

I absorbed thousands of tweets after the elimination, even days after. If I am to give a general feel of the mood, it was not good.

Name dropping, pointing fingers and all, but I can tell you one thing, those tweets were filled with emotions. READ: Ginebra's adjustment pains rage on

There were tons of tweets with direct mentions to the players and to the coaching staff, too. There were even talks of a boycott by Ginebra fans even before the PBA Playoffs. That is the intensity of disappointment we are experiencing.

However, I cannot hold those actions against them at all, because the truth is that these Ginebra fans invest their time, money, effort, resources, emotions, and lives for the team.

We demand something better because we care. We demand for something because this is not just any other team; this is Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, and for us, it means everything.

Reading those reactions made me wonder, after everything, have they given up on Barangay Ginebra?

After everything, and with everything that has been happening, have you given up on Barangay Ginebra? — Barangay Ginebra (@barangayginebra) April 24, 2014

I got replies seconds after I tweeted the question, and I heard a loud “Hell no,” resonating from Ginebra fans who believe that giving up is never an option.

Those replies made me realize that contrary to popular belief, many Ginebra fans are still hanging on.

Six years without a championship does not make many of us cheer for the team any less. Well, this does not mean that everything about it is easy because I know very well that it is not.

Ginebra fans are affected with everything in many more ways than others can probably imagine.
Maybe this is why they say that the love we give to Barangay Ginebra is very different than the others.

Self-sacrificing. All-consuming. Bittersweet.

So here’s my raging Brofist up in the air: For the pain Barangay Ginebra caused our minds and our hearts for this disappointing conference; For all those tear-jerking moments when we could have thrown it all away but we did not because we cannot; For the hope of a team who have the desire to win, the heart to fight, and the courage to imbibe the "Never Say Die" attitude; and
for you who refuse to let go.

I could go on and on trying to find ways to heal my heart as this Commissioner’s Cup enters the semifinals without Barangay Ginebra, but at the end of the day, I know where I stand when it comes to my team.

So I threw the million dollar question back to me: After everything, have I given up on Barangay Ginebra?

Without any doubt, I answered myself. Just like my fellow Ginebra faithfuls, I can complain, I can rant, I can get angry with everything Ginebra-related for this conference, but I am not giving up on my team just yet.

I know that there are fans like me who are still all in for Barangay Ginebra.

This is just one of those trying times when we have to hold on to the team tighter. This is what we live for – the "Never Say Die" Ginebra magic that we came to love and cherish. We may not see it right now, but I know it’s there.

It has to be. –

Kaye Cabal

Kaye Cabal leads Rappler’s Digital Communications team and has been with Rappler since 2014. Her interest in and dedication to social media grew deeper with her love and passion for Philippine sports. She is a BS Development Communication graduate of UP Los Baños.