The team has gone through many names over the years: Gilbey’s Gin, Ginebra San Miguel, Añejo, Gordon’s Gin, and finally, officially, Barangay Ginebra. Still, through all these, the spirit stays the same: Never say die.
In this week’s installment of The List, we count down the 10 greatest players in the history of the PBA’s most popular franchise.
But before we get to the Top 10, here are some honorable mentions:
The PBA’s original “Mr. Clutch” was Robert Jaworski’s bosom buddy, and the duo was responsible for the team’s sudden rise in popularity upon their transfer to the franchise. A mestizo looker from Ateneo, he was Vince Hizon before Vince Hizon. He retired abruptly in 1986, just before Ginebra won its first PBA title, but he remains in the heart of old-school fans.
Originally known for his good looks, “The Prince” quickly proved to Ginebra fans that he was not just a pretty boy. His combination of a sweet outside stroke, fearless drives to the hoop, and rugged defense endeared him to the Barangay faithful.
The “H-Bomb” is one of the most colorful players to ever don the Ginebra uniform. An energy guy, he often feeds off the mammoth crowd that comes to support the Gin Kings. And even though his stint with the team has been marked by prolonged absence, he will certainly go down as a memorable character.
The league’s original Iron Man, Gonzalgo also had one of the coolest nicknames in the PBA: The Bicol Express. It was a great nickname, because like a train, he often ran down opponents with his combination of size and speed in the backcourt. Younger fans don’t remember that he was Ginebra’s top scorer in the late ’80s — earning a berth in Jaworski’s 1990 Philippine team to the Asian Games in the process — before retiring due to injuries in 1993.
After being a super scorer in the college ranks, Jarencio’s first few years in the PBA were a disappointment. A tweener guard, he just couldn’t seem to find his mark in the league. That was until he joined Ginebra in 1992. He kept the team in many games with his hot shooting hands, and killed off rallies by opposing teams, earning him the nickname “The Fireman”.