Mendoza: Ginebra’s theater of gore

It was supposed to be a thriller. It was supposed to be a battle up to the so-called last drop of blood. It wasn’t supposed to end this way.

With the suddenness of a knockout punch, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel drastically rewrote the script to make Game 7 the greatest performance of its life, brutally revising the libretto to transform Game 7 from a timeless classic to a theater of gore.

Lost in a maze of magical moves by the Gin Kings was the pre-ordained promise of ferocious fire from all directions by both protagonists.

But hardly has the game started when Justin Brownlee immediately banged home back-to-back jumpers, setting the tone of the one evening the Bay Area Dragons would never forget for maybe the rest of their lives.

After taking a modest 27-21 first quarter lead, Ginebra, practically lifted all night by the lung-tearing cheers from a record partisan crowd of 54,589 that repeatedly rocked the foundations of the massive Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, went on to erect a 22-point, 61-39 halftime bulge that all but put an abrupt end to the title pretensions of the visitors from Hong Kong.

The obvious became as certain as new-born babies cry when the Gin Kings steadily built 20-plus leads that even went as high as 29, eventually embracing a 114-99, title-clinching rout in a manner as though they were unforgivingly giving the Dragons a basketball clinic—literally.

When the carnage was over, Brownlee was waving his game-high 34 points on a blistering 14-of-22 field goal clip, his theatrical performance ably backed up by teammates Scottie Thompson, LA Tenorio, Jamie Malonzo, the dunking Japeth Aguilar and the Finals Most Valuable Player Christian Standhardinger.

Where were the Dragons’ vaunted missiles from afar, electrifying fast break points and dizzying dribble and drive to the hoop conundrums that made them the hottest crown contenders in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup? What happened?

Nothing really happened.

It’s so happened that when you come down to it, Ginebra just bided its time before capturing its 15th title—second only to San Miguel Beer’s 28.

For sheer drama, the ever-so-confident Gin Kings wanted the crown to come a day after the birthday (Jan. 14) of Ramon S. Ang, the humble Ginebra owner.