IN a conference where height is might, Barangay Ginebra stood the tallest.
Behind the shortest Best Import in league history in Justin Brownlee and an amazing rebounding guard in Scottie Thompson, the Gin Kings put away an emphatic 93-77 win over San Miguel to wrest the PBA Commissioner's Cup championship.
Brownlee and Thompson presided over a 21-4 finish to the third quarter to help Ginebra turn around a 38-35 halftime deficit and pull away for good to the delight of 20,490 roaring fans at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 4-2 win in the best-of-seven series gave Ginebra its first Commissioner's Cup title since 1997 - and its second league title over the last three conferences. It was also 21st championship in the career of coach Tim Cone and the 11th overall for Ginebra.
A resident import of the Kings in the Governors’ Cup, the 6-foot-4 Brownlee stood above everyone else in the midseason conference, capping off his impressive campaign with 31 points and 19 rebounds in the title-clinching victory.
The 6-foot-1 Thompson, meanwhile, lorded it over the boards, hauling down 13 rebounds to go along with his 12 points. He was later adjudged Finals MVP.
The Kings trailed by 10 points but found their rhythm in the third quarter when they turned a 42-41 deficit into a 62-46 advantage entering the final canto. Ginebra’s defense limited San Miguel to only eight points in that stretch.
Ginebra went on to lead by as many as 22 points, turning the rest of the game into a celebration for its multitude of fans.
Ginebra slotman Greg Slaughter held his own against four-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds in Game Six. LA Tenorio had 11 points and shot 3-of-8 from threes, while Jeff Chan had 10 points as he won his first-ever PBA title in a Kings uniform following a mid-conference trade.
Fajardo had 29 points and 15 rebounds but was saddled with foul trouble in Game Six. Renaldo Balkman, a replacement import for the Beermen following his campaign with Brownlee in the Asean Basketball League, had 24 points and 14 rebounds.
Ginebra 93 – Brownlee 31, Slaughter 13, Thompson 12, Tenorio 11, Chan 10, Mercado 5, Ferrer 5, Devance 4, J. Aguilar 1.
San Miguel 77 – Fajardo 29, Balkman 24, Heruela 11, Cabagnot 6, Santos 5, Pessumal 2, Mamaril 0, Ross 0, Lassiter 0, Vigil 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Standhardinger 0.
Quarters: 14-17; 35-38; 62-46; 93-77.