Coaching staff and fellow players lift Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings’ Earl Scottie Thompson during the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup awarding ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 8. Kings defeated defending champion San Miguel Beermen 93-77 to take the title and Thompson was awarded as the Finals Most Valuable Player. PBA

MANILA – For Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings head coach Tim Cone, the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship was the hardest among his three titles with the crowd-favorite squad.

Rightfully so, as Kings had to endure several issues along the way this conference – from an ineffective import in Charles Garcia, to the injury of center Greg Slaughter and a measly 1-5 win-loss start.

Kings began to change fortunes with the entry of Justin Brownlee as they won 12 of their 13 matches until Game 1 of the finals before facing their last obstacle in back-to-back lopsided wins by San Miguel Beermen in Games 2 and 3.

“There’s so many ‘who would’ve thought it’ moments in this conference,” Cone told the press after their 93-77 win in Game 6 on Wednesday. “We were one and five, and who would have even thought that we’d make the playoffs?”

“And then, when we got matched up with San Miguel, who would’ve thought that we’ve been able to win this series, and who would have thought that we can win it in six games?” added the 21-time PBA champion coach.

“You know, I’m just, I’m amazed. I’m amazed at the resilience of our players, the fight and the battle,” he said. “But if there’s one group that made it all possible, it was the fans who continued to push us when were down and out in this series.”

But Cone said that even if they were able to take one championship from Beermen, Ginebra is still way, way far from reaching the status of San Miguel as the best team in the league.

“One championship does not change anything. San Miguel is still the best team in the league,” Cone said. “With June Mar (Fajardo) on their side, they will still have more championships to come.”

“If you want to win a PBA championship, you have to beat San Miguel,” he added. “For now, we are the kings of the PBA but we are still trying to reach (Beermen) level. We are doing it one step at a time.”/PN

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