The barangay in Ginebra

Lito A. Tacujan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Before it is lost in the mists of time, there’s this storied bleacher tale of how Ginebra San Miguel became the hoops nation’s favorite barangay.

It’s a given – that Ginebra is the hard drink of the poor, the masses and the have-nots living in barangays.

And through an incredible scheme it sustained its place atop the gin and liquor field for generations.

It’s their, excuse the pun, never-say- die spirit.

And no matter the result of the sudden death between the Gin Kings and the Bay Area Dragons, a Hong Kong-based team, in the PBA Commissioners’ Cup at the Philippine Arena, the crowd favorites have once again displayed their competitive stand, particularly against foreign invasion.

But why this never-say-die battlecry? It was allegedly forged in the era of Robert Jaworski and his tough playing men in the late 80s who bucked tremendous odds and brandished unrelenting will to overcome adversities.

These unwavering passions, it was alleged, galvanized the tightly knit generations of fans that led to the formation of a barangay all their own. Their “Sixth Man.”

But why a barangay although, for marketing purposes, it helped describe the profile of gin drinkers in the community?.

There’s this other version, unconfirmed, too, but with some grain of truth in it as recalled by old PBA watchers decades ago.

It seems that eons of years back, when the Gin Kings were struggling to find their niche in the cut-throat league, there were two weather-beaten middle age men, ever Ginebra diehards, who would seat in the nose-bleed section that was the Big Dome bleachers, and held a placard.

They would endure the insults and barbs and verbal abuses from the anti-Ginebra crowd in the bleachers, seating ever so loyal to the Kings with their placard that says “BARANGAY GINEBRA.”

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