The ball clubs owned by San Miguel Corporation have been dominating the last PBA Governors’ Cup tournaments. The Magnolia Hotshots’ recent victory is the sixth consecutive time an SMC franchise has won the championship, which began with the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers winning in 2013 and 2014, followed by San Miguel Beer in 2015, and Barangay Ginebra in 2016 and 2017.
This recent dominance of SMC, of course, does not tell the whole story. Other ball clubs have made a clear mark in the conference. Here we rank the past winners of the Governors’ Cup since the tournament’s inception in 1993.
TIED AT 4TH PLACE: Shell, Sta. Lucia, Rain or Shine
The Zoom Masters captured their first and only Governors’ Cup crown in 1998, when the Perry Ronquillo-coached team, bannered by import John Best and locals Benjie Paras and Gerry Esplana, ruled the conference at the expense of the Mobiline Phone Pals. Shell overcame a 2-3 series deficit against a Silas Mills and Glenn Capacio-led Phone Pals team to win its third championship overall.
Sta. Lucia (2001)
The now-defunct Sta. Lucia Realtors, then led by import Damien Owens and Dennis Espino, got the better of Lamont Strothers’ San Miguel Beer in the 2001 finals. The series is best remembered for Chris Tan’s title-clinching triple in Game Six, marking the Realtors’ first league title and ending their nine-year title drought.
Rain or Shine (2012)
The Elasto Painters made their PBA championship breakthrough via the Governors’ Cup in 2012 when they went up against the B-Meg Llamados in a series that went the distance. Undersized import Jamelle Cornley played a big role and shouldered the load, while Jeff Chan stood out among the locals and emerged Finals MVP. Rain or Shine prevailed despite the absence of injured rookie Paul Lee late in the series, an outcome that its coach, Yeng Guiao, boldly predicted. Guiao had said, “We will win the title with or without Paul Lee.”
AT THIRD PLACE: Barangay Ginebra (2016, 2017)
Barangay Ginebra (2016, 2017)
The Gin Kings proved they were a force to reckon with once again. They ended an eight-year PBA title drought through the 2016 Governors’ Cup, at the expense of the Meralco Bolts. Coach Tim Cone showed pedigree, guiding the Gin Kings to the crown in just his third conference. It was in this series when Justin Brownlee turned himself into an instant Ginebra legend after hitting his version of “The Shot”—the title-clinching three-pointer in Game Six.
The following year, the Gin Kings made a successful title defense against the same Bolts team, capped by a historic Game Seven victory witnessed by over 54,000 fans at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
TIED AT SECOND PLACE: Alaska, Purefoods/San Mig Coffee/Magnolia
Alaska (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997)
The Aces have four Governors’ Cup titles to their name. They had a straight run from 1994 to 1997, with the last one won against the Purefoods Carne Norte Beefies. Led by import Sean Chambers and top locals Kenneth Duremdes and Jojo Lastimosa, the Milkmen pounced on the absence of injured Purefoods import Mike Jones to finish off the Beefies in Game Five.
Purefoods/San Mig Coffee/Magnolia (2002, 2013, 2014, 2018)
Magnolia relived lost glory by ending a four-year championship drought with its most recent victory. Here, Romeo Travis earned personal redemption after failing to win a title with Alaska, while coach Chito Victolero captured his first championship as head coach in the pro ranks. The Purefoods franchise also became the first team to rule the Governors’ Cup under three different names.
AT FIRST PLACE: San Miguel Beer/Petron Blaze (1993, 1999, 2000, 2011, 2015)
The Beermen own the most titles in the Governors’ Cup with five, the latest of which was in the 2015 season when they swept Alaska in four games. AZ Reid made a statement, after losing the Best Import award to Travis, by leading the Beermen to the championship. June Mar Fajardo was named Finals MVP after a dominant showing in the series that didn’t take long to finish.