2013 PBA Governors’ Cup

Words by: Nadz Ruiz

San Mig Coffee came through as they outfought the Petron Blaze Boosters, 87-77, in the final game of the season and claimed the PBA Governors Cup crown before a delirious crowd of over 21,000 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum

San Mig Coffee came through as they outfought the Petron Blaze Boosters, 87-77, in the final game of the season and claimed the PBA Governors Cup crown before a delirious crowd of over 21,000 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum

It all came down to a battle between two of the most long-standing franchises in Philippine professional basketball. San Miguel Beer and Purefoods fans of old (and new) flocked to the 2013 PBA Governors’ Cup finals to watch the match-up between the strong, star-studded line-up of the Petron Blaze Boosters and the solid, sharp shooters of the San Mig Coffee Mixers.

But before we talk about this classic final, let’s take a short look back at the events that led up to the clash of these two titans.

The Governors’ Cup started on Aug. 14, two weeks later than originally scheduled due to the FIBA Asia Championship which was held in Manila. The last PBA tournament of the year was expected to be an exciting one as Gilas players returned and expected to banner their respective teams. The added firepower from the imports were also expected to turn up the tempo in this short but sweet tourney.

Young teams Rain or Shine and Globalport were quick out the gate with wins against veterans San Mig Coffee and Air 21. The succeeding games were straightforward – with teams notching their first wins and others bouncing back from first game losses.

The only seemingly anomalous event was the 2-0 start of the San Mig Coffee Mixers. The next set of games saw the locals pushing their teams to wins. Globalport’s Gary David shot a dagger three to lift his team over debuting Alaska while the tandem of Gilas, big man Marc Pingris and James “Big Game” Yap, made all the difference as San Mig Coffee bounced back from two straight losses to start the season.

L.A. Tenorio showed why he was one of the top pointguards in the country by scoring 34 big points to give Barangay Ginebra San Miguel their first win of the Governors’ Cup. Meanwhile, the imports of Air 21 and Petron were also quick to make the mark, top-scoring their teams’ wins against Air 21 and Rain or Shine respectively.

Locals and imports made good music together as the tournament continued. Petron leaned on locals June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, and Arwind Santos to support import Elijah Millsap’s efforts as the Boosters blazed to three consecutive wins. Guard Emman Monfort’s breakaway game went hand-in-hand with import Michale Singletary to give Barako Bull a 3-1 card, tying Petron at the top of the standings. Meanwhile, Alaska bounced back with two consecutive wins after their first game loss to Globalport.

It was a pretty tight race at the 2-2 level with Rain or Shine, Talk N Text, and Globalport all jockeying for better records. On the other hand, Ginebra and Air 21 fell to the bottom of the standings. High-scoring Petron broke the top rank tie with Barako Bull as the Boosters flexed offensive muscle with Elijah Millsap’s 31 points and Arwind Santos and Chris Lutz’s combined 39 markers. Rain or Shine moved up to another three-way tie at the 3-2 level after ending a two-game skid at the expense of the hapless Air 21 Express. Meralco and Barako Bull both shared ROS’s 3-2 card with the Bolts evening Alaska’s record at 2-2 and Barako Bull falling to Petron.

The Marc Pingris-Kelly Nabong brawl

As old die hard fans would have it, Philippine basketball is not complete without the face-offs and the occasional fistfight. With emotions and competitive spirits running high, a true fistfight occured between San Mig Coffee Mixer Marc Pingris and Globalport’s Kelly Nabong.

The trouble started when San Mig Coffee import Marqus Blakely dragged down Globalport’s Marvin Hayes by the neck. Mixer Joe Devance shoved Hayes who was retaliating at Blakely. Kelly Nabong backed up Hayes, but his right forearm hit Blakely instead of Devance. Marc Pingris then joined the fray by throwing a punch to Nabong’s face. Nabong attempted to knee Pingris but failed to connect.

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