PBA Governors' Cup

Bittersweet feeling for Pinto as Ginebra trumps Meralco for PBA title

Delfin Dioquino
Bittersweet feeling for Pinto as Ginebra trumps Meralco for PBA title

BREAKTHROUGH. John Pinto ends his personal PBA title drought as he keys Barangay Ginebra to another Governors' Cup crown.

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John Pinto captures his first PBA championship as Barangay Ginebra bests his former team Meralco in the Governors' Cup finals

MANILA, Philippines – Leaving Meralco for Barangay Ginebra has been made more worth it for John Pinto.

Pinto captured his first PBA championship as the Gin Kings bested his former team Bolts in six games in the Governors’ Cup finals on Friday, April 22.

“No words can express how happy I am,” Pinto said in Filipino. “I’m extremely happy.”

Pinto started the conference with Meralco but left the squad in January to join Ginebra as part of the first batch of players given the freedom to become unrestricted free agents.

Switching teams seemed like the wrong move for Pinto as the Bolts ended the elimination round as the No. 3 seed with a win-once incentive to boot, while the Gin Kings wound up as the No. 6 seed.

But Pinto and Ginebra got its act together, surviving twice-to-beat TNT in the quarterfinals and disposing of NLEX in the semifinals in four games to reach the championship round.

Pinto then played a key role in the finals, averaging 5.7 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists as the Gin Kings claimed their fourth Governors’ Cup crown in six seasons.

He tallied 5 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal in the title clincher on Friday.

“It was really worth it. The timing was just right,” Pinto said. “It feels good to come from sixth place and win the championship.”

“We scaled a mountain and reached the top.”

Pinto, though, could not help but feel for his former squad and teammates, knowing how heartbreaking it is to fall short of the grand prize.

The 31-year-old saw action in the finals in the 2019 Governors’ Cup, but he and the Bolts settled for a runner-up finish against the same Ginebra crew.

“Congrats to Meralco, it was a great series. Of course, I’m a bit sad because I’m close with some of the players there,” Pinto said.

“But that is basketball. I’m here at Ginebra and I’m really happy and blessed to win a championship with this team.” – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

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.