Written by Jonas Terrado
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Crispa are synonymous with being among the most popular franchises in Filipino basketball history.
A win over the TNT Tropang Giga earlier in the fifth match of the Philippine PBA Cup Finals would give the Kings not only their thirteenth championship but also a draw with the legendary Redmanizers for fourth place ever.
The number of Crespa Championships has been exceeded three times since Danny Floro decided to end his participation in the first pay-to-play league in Asia before the 1985 season.
The Redmanizers retained the position as the best football club in PBA until San Miguel Beermen won their 14th Commissioner Cup in 2000. Beermen currently holds 27 titles, more than double the team’s exploits rooted in Crispanatics.
Magnolia, known throughout its history for the excellence of Purefoods, Alaska tied at number two with 14 titles each.
Alaska tied with Crespa after winning the Fiesta 2010 conference before claiming the 14th title in the 2013 Commissioner Cup. On the other hand, Magnolia tied Crespa after completing his fifth PBA Grand Slam tournament in 2014 before the Aces tied in the 2018 Conservative Cup.
Incidentally, Tim Cohn was in charge when the two teams tied for Crespa. He could do it again last night for Ginebra, who has been enjoying a lot of success since the American guide arrived.
Ginebra started her participation in the PBA in 1979 as Gilbey’s Gin, but suffered from birth pains during the first five seasons that included title defeats at the 1982 Toyota Open Conference and the 1983 All-Filipino Conference to Crespa.
It wasn’t until 1984 when the La Tondena franchise became a popular team after Robert Jaworski joined the team after Toyota’s horrific dissolution.
Even if Jaworski made him the most popular team in PBA, the tournaments were frightening for Ginebra who ruled the 1986 Open Conference, 1988 All-Filipino (as Anejo Rum 65), 1991 First Conference and 1997 Commissioner Cup (Gordon’s Gin).
Barangay Ginebra had great success in the 2000s, this time with Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand, Eric Menk and later Rudy Hatfield and Ronald Tubid leading the Kings to win the titles at the 2004 Fiesta Conference, 2004-05 and 2006-2007 Philippine Cup and the 2008 Fiesta Conference.
Kuhn’s arrival in 2015 brought the Kings back to the top with wins in the 2016 and 2017 Conservative Cup, the 2018 Commissioners Cup and the 2019 Governors Cup, this time with importer Justin Brownlee, Los Angeles Tenorio, Scotty Thompson and Gabith Aguilar who played the leading roles.