RONALD Tubid sets aside his affinity with Barangay Ginebra for now as he tries to live up to his role as a bench sparkplug for San Miguel Beer in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals starting in Game One on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The veteran SMB wingman played for Ginebra for six seasons and was part of the team in 2007 when the Gin Kings and Beermen last met in a title series of the all-Filipino conference.
Tubid was one of the key cogs of that Gin Kings team that overcome a 2-0 deficit by winning the next four games to stun the Beermen, a championship that turned out to be their last in an all-Filipino tournament.
“Ever since, my heart is still Ginebra before nung bagong alis ko pa lang. Nandun yung heart ko pa rin sa Ginebra,” the 35-year-old cager admitted on Wednesday. “Some of the fans nga want me to go back to Ginebra, pero kumbaga ‘di naman sa ano ‘ko, pero I think I found my home in San Miguel.”
“Weird feeling lang kasi some of the guys like Jayjay (Helterbrand) and Mark (Caguioa), they are my best friends, they are the ninong of my kids tapos magkalaban kami,” he added. “Okay lang sana nung semis, pero ito Finals.”
Now in his fifth season with the Beermen, Tubid still treats his former Gin Kings teammates as family, although foes for now.
“Nakakamiss yung ganun, kasi nasali din ako nun sa Ginebra, siguro iba na rin kasi magkalaban na kami pero sa loob lang ng court yun,” Tubid said. “Lahat naman kami winners tsaka ang kagandahan nun nadala ko yung ugali ng never-say-die, nadala ko sa San Miguel.”
And that’s what he tries to continue providing the Beermen in the best-of-seven series against the Gin Kings.
“Sa San Miguel naman, more on stabilizer (ako), kasi as a veteran, we need to know our roles, ang role namin sa team dedepensa,” the 14-year veteran said.
As a former Gin King, Tubid is well aware how the crowd pumps the Gin Kings up, something the Beermen try to weather.
“Ginebra is Ginebra. Kailangan maiwasan maaga yung fans kasi yung Sixth Man ng Ginebra, mafe-feel mo yung energy nila lumilipat sa lakas ng Ginebra,” Tubid explained. “Lahat ng adjustment kailangan vigilant kung anong move meron sila, kailangan may adjustments din kami agad para hindi mag-ignite yung fans, kailangan namin yung kalaban namin yung lima sa loob lang kasi mas matindi yung Sixth Man nila.”
“Kailangan naming pumukpok ng pumukpok,” he added. “Yung mga starters namin, sabi nila kahit mapagod sila. Andito namin kaming second group, this time I think more ma-involve yung second group.”