Dear Barangay Ginebra,
Its been three years. Three years since I last saw you, players and coaches alike, jump up and down the Araneta Coliseum while millions of balloons fall on your sweaty heads. Three years since Coach Jong Uichico was last carried by an import. Three very long years since you, Kings, last threw full Gatorade bottles at each other. Yes, its been that long. 3 lengthy years since you’ve last won a championship.
It was 2008 and you guys won Game 7 of the 2008 Fiesta Conference championship series against the Air 21 Express. And I gotta tell you it was amazing.
2008 was also the year I got really hooked with the PBA. I only knew three players that time: Mark Caguioa, Ronald Tubid and Cyrus Baguio. I didn’t even know what team they were from. I just knew them because I always hear their names whenever PBA was blaring in our TV screens. And because Ronald Tubid’s name sounded a bit like my dad’s name.
So anyway, I was completely clueless with everything related to PBA. Until one day, my dad announced that he bought tickets for a PBA game. 1st game was between the Air 21 Express and the now defunked team Sta. Lucia Realtors. I didn’t know anything about either team but when I saw a very CUTE and ADORABLE guy named Ryan Reyes (who was still a rookie that time), I chose to cheer for Sta. Lucia. Thankfully, they won.
2nd game was between the Talk N Text Tropang Texters and you. It was my first game and I didn’t know what to expect. But before I knew it, I was on my feet the entire 4 quarters. I remember that your swingman, Ronald Tubid, didn’t get to play (I have no idea why) and he was shaking his mineral water bottle in frustration because you were, in fact, losing. Also, your shooting guard/small forward, Mark Caguioa didn’t step up until the 4th. Unsurprisingly you, rather we, lost.
But I didn’t went home disappointed that night. I thought you were AWESOME! I loved how you showed your never say die spirit despite the fact that TnT was literally beating you up. I also loved seeing you still fighting back with less than a minute left in the clock. But most of all I loved seeing YOUR crowd, which is obviously bigger than a normal barangay, cheer the famous “Ginebra chant” even though your players suck that night (admit it, they did suck).
For me, that was the night I truly became a “kabarangay”. A real, solid one. In less than a month, I knew each and everyone of your players. Their age, they’re nationality (if they’re pure Filipino or not), where they were born (Caguioa is a batang Mandaluyong like me!), and most importantly, if they’re single or married. At this point, red and white blood started flowing in my veins (not literally of course).
So, fast forward a few months after that night. Your team clinches a spot in the finals with the Air 21 Express. And boy, what a series it was! I still remember all of your 7 games; the victory then disappointment and then victory again. I remember how your import, Chris Alexander, was THE BOMB! I swear he literally lifted JayJay Helterbrand the last 20 seconds of Game 7. I’m telling you, I remember EVERYTHING about your last championship three years ago. The victorious face of your coach Jong Uichico, Air 21’s Bo Perasol shaking his head and of course, the never ending chants of “Ginebra Ginebra!” by legions and legions of your devoted fans.
Fast forward to NOW.
I’m writing this the night before you face the Texters. I know your coaches and players are probably trying their best to get a good night sleep but I know for a fact that they’re failing to do so. Even I as a fan is practically really nervous for tomorrow night. I have no idea what the outcome would be. I don’t know who’s going home tomorrow victorious and who’s going home in tears. But whatevers gonna happen, theres one thing I’m sure of dear Ginebra. I’m 100% sure that tomorrow, win or lose, your gazillions of fans will be there. Cheering and chanting for you. For the players, for the coaches, for the team. Whether they’re watching live or in their TV screens or even listening to the radio broadcast, they’ll be there. Screaming, jumping and swearing at your opposing team. I know this because I’ll be one of them. Win or lose.
Love not your # 1 fan but you’re most LOYAL fan,
NEVER SAY DIE!