MANILA, Philippines – It took 8 years for Barangay Ginebra to end its title drought. Mark Caguioa probably waited just as long to finally respond back to critics.
The 36-year-old veteran could not help but comment on the “kangkong” tag – which refers to always being on the losing end – that’s been associated with the Gin Kings for their slew of disappointing performances since last winning a championship in 2008.
“I don’t know. Iba iba e (It’s all different). This one is up there,” Caguioa said on Wednesday, October 19, when asked which of his 5 total titles was most memorable.
“It’s been, what, 8 years since the last time? Some people made fun of us, niloloko yung team na kangkong (they were teasing the team that we were kangkong). But look at us now. Sinong kangkong ngayon (Who’s the kangkong now)?”
Ginebra survived a gritty Meralco squad in 6 games, finally taking home the 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup trophy in the most vindicating way on a game-winning 3-pointer from import Justin Brownlee at the final buzzer, 91-88.
(WATCH: Justin Brownlee hits 3-pointer to clinch championship for Ginebra)
Caguioa, the face of the franchise for more than a decade, helped spark Ginebra together with his partner-in-crime Jayjay Helterbrand in Game 4, helping turn the series around for good as the Gin Kings won 3 straight from there.
“I still can’t believe we won. It came down to the last shot. Meralco played hard. We didn’t know how to stop them. It came down to the last possession,” Caguioa tried to explain his emotions after the thrilling game.
“And Justin hit that amazing shot. We won the game. Mahirap (It was hard). Talagang it just made it sweeter na ganitong kahirap yung panalo (It really just made it sweeter that we got this difficult win).”
Caguioa finished Game 6 with 6 points, 4 rebounds, and two assists off the bench.
He turned emotional and tearful after the game as he and Helterbrand gave interviews, hugged each other, and bear-hugged coach Tim Cone.
Two-time Grand Slam coach Cone, who was appointed head coach of the Gin Kings just before this season, steered Ginebra to victory with the Living Legend Robert “Sonny” Jaworski in attendance and before a roaring crowd of 22,528 people. – Rappler.com
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