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Kings bag bubble crown
The Barangay Ginebra Kings hoist the Jun Bernardino Trophy under the rain of white confetti after winning the Philippine Cup crown over gritty rival TNT Tropang Giga last night at the AUF Sports Center in Angeles, Pampanga.
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Kings bag bubble crown

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - December 10, 2020 - 12:00am

Clark triumph ends Ginebra’s all-pinoy drought

SMART CLARK GIGA CITY, Pampanga, Philippines — Bubble’s best.

Barangay Ginebra put the finishing touches to a dominant run in the PBA Philippine Cup bubble play with a title-clinching 82-78 triumph over undermanned TNT last night at the AUF Sports Arena Powered by Smart 5G.

Japeth Aguilar punched in a career-high-equaling 32 points and joined forces with Stanley Pringle and LA Tenorio in rallying from a five-point deficit and sealing their coronation as the new All-Filipino kingpins.

The Gin Kings broke a long 13-year title drought in the pro league’s centerpiece conference, achieving this under tough conditions of the two-and-a-half month Clark bubble. And with this 4-1 conquest, they nabbed their first all-Pinoy diadem under coach Tim Cone.

It was a peculiar victory celebration for the country’s most popular ballclub, which won this bubble tourney without a single one of their roaring diehards at the stands.

“This one’s for you, Ginebra fans. We think about you all the time. I’m so proud to bring this to you,” said Cone as he addressed supporters, who could only cheer for them virtually in their households.

Aguilar, Pringle and Tenorio delivered the killer blows on a TNT side that fought fiercely despite the absence of key players Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. (strained calf) and Jayson Castro (bone spurs).

With TNT up, 73-68, the trio ignited a 14-5 windup to turn the tables around. Pringle hit two triples, Aguilar shot four, and Finals MVP Tenorio delivered a crucial assist and sank clutch free throws in the searing championship windup.

It was an ending fit for a king for Ginebra, which finished the elims with a tournament-best 8-3 card, and showed its championship caliber with its quick work of Rain or Shine in the quarterfinals and a tough 3-2 victory over Meralco in the semis.

“Credit to all the players. They just kept working and working. They found a way to win throughout this bubble,” said Cone.

RR Pogoy fired 23 and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the runners-up. Poy Erram had an 18-15 effort and Simon Enciso chipped in 17, including successive triples that gave TNT a five-point cushion.

GINEBRA TNT
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