What transpired in the Philippine basketball scene on October 22, 1985 remains as one of the most unforgettable moments in the local sports history, as it has given birth to a mantra that transcends time, and generations of games, athletes, and fans.
In the second quarter of that year’s Reinforced Conference, then playing coach of the Ginebra San Miguel Robert Jaworski, Sr. was accidentally elbowed by North Consolidated’s Jeff Moore.
The injury on Jaworski’s upper lip was severe enough to have him rushed to the hospital. The incident inevitably favored the opposing team who led by as much as 15 points, and the losing fate of the Gin Kings seemed to have been decided. Until, to everyone’s bewilderment, The Big J with a bandaged seven-stitch lip returned to action in the third quarter of the game.
The Ginebra San Miguel clinched the win, and the rest, as they say, is history—to which their ‘never say die’ spirit can be attributed.
History repeats itself
Formed in 1979, Ginebra San Miguel has grown to be one of the country’s basketball powerhouses. Whenever they step into the court, stadiums and arenas are expected to be filled from the benches to the rafters, with chants of ‘Gi-neb-ra!’ fuelling the ballers’ play. The team can also give showbiz love teams a run for their money as it also has a fandom devoted to keep them on the social media trending list whenever a game is scheduled.
Because who wouldn’t stan? Today, the Barangay Ginebra’s legacy lives on.
In the 2004-2005 PBA season, ‘The Fast and The Furious’ duo of Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterband has been instrumental in ending the seven-year championship drought of the Gin Kings, whose winning streak continued in the following conference as back-to-back champions.
As for the current pool of players, among the standouts are Scottie Thompson and Justin Brownlee. Thompson recorded his third triple double and bagged the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals MVP. Brownlee, meanwhile, was a key player in winning the 2016 and 2017 Governor’s Cup, the latter of which gathered a new PBA record crowd attendance of 54,068 at the Philippine Arena, in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Their story is yours, too
Four decades after, in celebration of its 40 years, the Barangay Ginebra honors its most important stakeholders: its ever loyal and committed fans.
In the upcoming PBA Commissioner’s Cup, the defending champions will don themselves with a new jersey that features its timeless ‘Never Say Die’ maxim. And as an expression of gratitude to the supporters, the jerseys will be available to the public until June 30, 2019, at major supermarkets and convenience stores nationdwide.
The collection bears the names and numbers of Jaworski (7), Helterbrand (13), Caguioa (47), Thompson (6) and Brownlee (32)—all of whom were present in the recently held media launch at the Novotel in Quezon City.
For Paolo Tupaz, Ginebra San Miguel brand manager, the new jersey collection is not only a tribute to its sensational players, but also to the team’s legions of fans who embody the same spirit of resiliency and determination.
“Barangay Ginebra San Miguel has become synonymous to the never-say-die spirit that is the mantra not only of the Gin Kings but also of every kabarangay,” Tupaz says in a statement.
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