SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – The Barangay Ginebra-Meralco rivalry drew basketball fans’ interest anew as it recorded the most number of livestream viewers two months into the PBA Philippine Cup bubble.
The thrilling end to the do-or-die game between the Kings and Bolts attracted a total of 278.2K viewers at its peak as provided by ONE Sports in its Facebook Live airing.
The Kings won the tightly-fought contest via a dramatic last-second three-pointer by Scottie Thompson, 83-80, to arrange a finals showdown against TnT Tropang Giga for the All-Filipino crown.
It already registered P252.4K viewers in the final 17 seconds just before veteran big man Reynel Hugnatan drained a clutch basket from beyond the arc to tie the game for the last time, 80-all, and set-up the fitting finale.
Game Five of the semis was the most viewed livestream since 177.8K viewers tuned in last Oct. 27 when Rain or Shine outlasted Barangay Ginebra in overtime, 85-82, behind the endgame heroics of big man Beau Belga.
Unlike that elimination round game, the Ginebra-Meralco tussle was shown live over free TV at ESPN5 and One Sports.
Calvin Abueva’s return from a 16-month suspension also drew a huge audience of 120K in Phoenix’s 114-110 victory over NLEX on Oct. 19.
Barangay Ginebra and Meralco had been involved in three finals showdown in the past that left memorable impression, including import Justine Brownlee’s spectacular game-winning three-pointer in Game Six to clinch the 2016 Governors Cup crown.
It also drew the most number of live gate attendance behind a record 54,086 at the Philippine Arena during Game Seven of the 2017 Governors Cup finals.
Just before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kings made it three in a row against the Bolts when they regained the 2019 Governors Cup title last January.