Barangay Ginebra is set to tie Crispa for fourth all-time in championship wins if it hurdles pass TNT in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals. PBA Images

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Crispa are synonymous for being among the most popular franchises in the history of Philippine basketball.

And a victory over the TNT Tropang Giga in Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals will give the Kings not only their 13th championship but also tie the fabled Redmanizers for fourth all-time.

Crispa’s haul of championships has been surpassed three times since Danny Floro decided to end its participation in Asia’s first pay-for-play league before the 1985 season.

The Redmanizers held the status as the PBA’s winningest ballclub until the San Miguel Beermen won their 14th crown in the 2000 Commissioner’s Cup. The Beermen currently have 27 titles, more than doubling the feats of the team rooted by the Crispanatics.

Magnolia, known throughout its history as the Purefoods franchise, and Alaska are tied for second with 14 titles apiece.

Alaska tied Crispa after its victory in the 2010 Fiesta Conference before getting title No. 14 in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup. Magnolia, on the other hand, equaled Crispa after completing the PBA’s fifth Grand Slam in 2014 before tying the Aces in the 2018 Governors’ Cup.

Incidentally, Tim Cone was in charge when both teams tied Crispa’s mark. He could do it again last night for Ginebra, which has been enjoying plenty of success since the arrival of the American mentor.

Ginebra began its PBA participation in 1979 as Gilbey’s Gin, but suffered birth pains through the first five seasons that included title defeats in the 1982 Open Conference to Toyota and 1983 All-Filipino Conference to Crispa.

It wasn’t until 1984 when the La Tondena franchise became a popular team after Robert Jaworski joined the team following the shocking disbandment of Toyota.

Even if Jaworski made it the PBA’s most popular team, championships were scarce for Ginebra which ruled the 1986 Open Conference, 1988 All-Filipino (as Anejo Rum 65), 1991 First Conference and 1997 Commissioner’s Cup (Gordon’s Gin).

Barangay Ginebra had a successful run in the 2000s, this time with Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand, Eric Menk and later Rudy Hatfield and Ronald Tubid leading the Kings to triumphs in the 2004 Fiesta Conference, 2004-05 and 2006-07 Philippine Cup and 2008 Fiesta Conference.

Cone’s arrival in 2015 launched the Kings’ return to prominence with wins in the 2016 and 2017 Governors’ Cup, 2018 Commissioner’s Cup and 2019 Governors’ Cup, this time with import Justin Brownlee, LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson and Japeth Aguilar playing the lead roles.

Source: Manila Bulletin (