That’s how Meralco coach Norman Black described the last second three-point shot of Ginebra import Justin Brownlee that lifted the Gin Kings to a pulsating 91-88 win in Game 6 Wednesday before more than 22,000 screaming fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
That three-pointer made inside the last 5.5 seconds dashed whatever was left of the Bolts’ hope of forging a winner-take-all Game 7 in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
“Game 6 versus Ginebra will go down as one of the greatest PBA games ever and I say that even though I was on the losing end,” said Black, even as he admitted he was quite disappointed over the Bolts’ loss in their first stint in the finals.
“Both teams played their hearts out and battled up to the last second. The Smart Araneta atmosphere was great and I’m happy for the league and the fans,” added Black.
“This may sound sentimental but I’ve been around the league for a long time and it was nice to see the fans come out and support the league like they did in the 80s when Jaworski (Robert) was still playing,” added Black.
The Gin Kings wrapped up the best-of-7 series and the season-ending conference, and ended their eight-year drought that started since their last taste of the championship in 2008 when they beat the Air21 during the Fiesta Conference.
For sure, the fervor will linger on for quite some time in living memory, if only because of the way the Game ended.
It was a great reward for the multitude of fans for sticking through thick and thin for eight long years to see their favorite team become champion again, and a much-greater reward for Tim Cone for being patient with the Gin Kings.
The Ginebra import himself said he was proud he was at the right place under the most intense part of the game, but admitted all he was thinking that moment were the fans.
“I was trying to draw up a play for me to get the basketball and, honestly, you know, I was just focusing on making the shot,” said Brownlee minutes after the game.
“A lot of people, the fans, my teammates, my family depended on me to make that shot and before the play happened, I thought about the fans and everybody who supported Ginebra,” he added. “I’m just very blessed and happy it went in.”
With only 5.5 seconds left and the score tied at 88-all, the Gin Kings worked out one final play after an easy inbound, and Brownlee, seizing the moment when the Meralco Bolts were seemingly napping on their defense, heaved a devil-may-care try way beyond the rainbow arc, and over the outstretched arms of Meralco counterpart Allen Durham.
The ball hit its target, shattering the game’s ninth and last deadlock, and signalling wild Ginebra celebration last seen eight years ago.
“I’m disappointed over our loss to Ginebra but I’m happy for the experience that my players gained by playing in the finals,” said Black.
“It was a long journey for us this year and I’m proud of the improvement that Meralco team displayed.”
It can be recalled that the Bolts also made the semis in the last Commissioner’s Cup but were beaten in five games.
The Bolts got some consolation though this season after their imports in the Commissioner’s Cup (Arinze Onuaku) and in the Governors’ Cup (Allen Durham) bagged the best import awards.
“From the local players to our two best imports, our program has shown a lot of progress,” added Black, gracious as he was in the face of defeat.
Cone shared Black’s feelings.
“I know how difficult it is for coach Norman (Black) to lose this game. I know what it is like to lose,” said Cone.