Gin Kings victory preserves SMC’s dominance over MVP teams

Published December 10, 2020, 1:29 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Tim Cone surpasses Jawo as Ginebra’s winningest coach
Tim Cone embraces LA Tenorio after the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings won over the TNT Tropang Giga in Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals on Wednesday. (PBA Images)

Tim Cone set another milestone after leading Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to the PBA Philippine Cup championship on Wednesday.

Not only did he claim a record-extending 23rd PBA crown, but Cone also became the winningest coach in the history of the Ginebra franchise.

It was Cone’s fifth title as Ginebra mentor to break his tie with the great Robert Jaworski.

Read: Bubble title ‘most unique’ in PBA history, says Tim Cone

Jaworski was playing coach when Ginebra won the 1986 Open Conference, 1988 All-Filipino, 1991 First Conference and 1997 Commissioner’s Cup titles while also turning the former La Tondena franchise into the PBA’s most popular ballclub.

“I never would have thought that I would be here at Ginebra. Just to be part of that is an amazing experience,” said Cone, who was moved to Ginebra by San Miguel Corporation management after steering the Purefoods franchise to five championships.

“Being around the fans and hearing all the comments and adulation of Sonny Jaworski even now, it’s amazing. To be mentioned with him is truly an honor,” he added.

Cone also joined fellow American Norman Black as the only coaches to capture a PBA title in four different decades.

Read: Tim Cone bares picking up lessons from good friend Erik Spoelstra


Barangay Ginebra players lift the Jun Bernardino Perpetual Trophy (PBA Images)

Ginebra’s triumph extended the dominance of San Miguel Corporation which has now won the last 11 conferences.

Read: Bubble kings: Ginebra captures All-Filipino crown as Tenorio gets Finals MVP nod

The Kings won their fifth championship during the streak, equaling the collection of previous Philippine Cup holder San Miguel Beermen while the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok who bagged the 2018 Governors’ Cup.

SMC teams have also reigned supreme in 18 of the last 20 conferences starting with San Mig Super Coffee’s (Magnolia) triumph in the 2013 Governors’ Cup.

TNT (2015 Commissioner’s Cup) and Rain or Shine (2016 Commissioner’s Cup) are the only non-San Miguel teams to win the title during that period.


The TNT Tropang Giga with the runner-up trophy (PBA Images)

TNT’s setback extended the woes of teams owned by Manny V. Pangilinan against its corporate rivals.

MVP-owned teams have lost nine consecutive Finals to SMC, a streak that started in the 2011 Governors’ Cup when Petron (San Miguel Beer) denied TNT a historic Grand Slam.

The trend continued when the Purefoods franchise defeated TNT as B-Meg in the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup and as San Mig Super Coffee in the 2014 Commissioner’s Cup.

Ginebra defeated Meralco thrice in the 2016, 2017 and 2019 Governors’ Cup while San Miguel Beer beat TNT in the 2017 and 2019 Commissioner’s Cup.

NLEX, the third team under the MVP banner, has never figured in a title series since its PBA debut in 2014.


TNT’s defeat also came 22 years to the day it fell short in the franchise’s first-ever PBA Finals appearance.

The team known back then as Mobiline lost, 93-91, to Formula Shell on Dec. 9, 1998 in the deciding seventh game of the Governors’ Cup Finals at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Mobiline several months ago won the Centennial Cup at the hands of Shell behind imports Silas Mills and Tee McClary and veterans Glenn Capacio and Al Solis but the tournament was considered as a special tournament.

Andy Seigle and current Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso were not part of the Phone Pals’ twin finals appearances due to their commitments with the Philippine Centennial Team preparing for the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games.