PBA on Christmas by the numbers: Gin Kings Extends Dominance as NLEX wins debut

Ginebra San Miguel, arguably the most popular team in Philippine basketball, is often slated to play on Christmas and they usually deliver an additional holiday gift for their throngs of fans.

The Gins pulled out an 89-78 victory against sister team and rival Magnolia Hotshots to remain unbeaten in Manila Classico games held on Christmas day.

It is the third straight victory Christmas Day victory of Barangay Ginebra over the Purefoods franchise. The Gins are now a perfect 4-0 against the Hotshots during their December 25 meetings. They first downed the Hotshots in 2007 in a nail-bitter, 100-98.

Their 11-point margin breaks the previous team-high of nine, established in 2009 when they defeat Coca Cola, 106-97, and matched in 2010 by nipping Alaska the second time, 79-70.

Incidentally, the win over Alaska was the third game of the 2010 Philippine Cup Quarterfinals where the Gins closed out the best-of-three series, coming from a 0-1 deficit. Ginebra lost the first game, 104-101, before routing the Aces in the second game, 92-76.

Overall, Ginebra has now played in 11 Christmas Day games and compiled a 10-1 win-loss record.

Their other victories include wins over Alaska, twice, Talk and Text, Rain or Shine, Coca Cola, and San Miguel Beer. Their only loss occurred in 2006 to Talk and Text.

The Purefoods franchise ranked next, playing in six games, followed by Alaska who played in five.

On the other hand, the Hotshots could not find their rhythm during the holiday games. Aside from the winless Manila Classico stint, they could only muster one win, an 85-74 win over Burger King in 2009, in their two other games.

Their other loss was a 72-98 shellacking from Rain or Shine in 2012. The 26-point margin still stands as the worst Christmas massacre to date.

Chito Victolero, the Hotshots head coach, is still winless by dropping his second consecutive Christmas game.

Meanwhile, NLEX made its first appearance and promptly disposed off Globalport, 115-104, which was making its third appearance.

NLEX joins Kia, who then played under the Mahindra Floodbuster banner, as the only unbeaten teams during Christmas, although they both played just a game each.

The 115-point output of the Road Warriors ties the highest points a team scored during Christmas originally established by Talk and Text in beating Ginebra.

Globalport drop its record to 1-2. They lost an overtime heartbreaker to the now defunct Air-21 franchise in its maiden appearance in 2013 but reversed their fortunes in the second game by trouncing the Phoenix Fuel Masters in 2015.

Globalport head coach Pido Jarencio drops his first game as the official coach, although he part of the team in a different capacity when they won against Phoenix.

Cone-Guiao Christmas Connection

Ginebra head coach Tim Cone and NLEX counterpart Yeng Guiao have more in common during the Christmas PBA games than just coaching.

Their respective team’s victories also probably made these head coaches happier both improved their personal records to an even .500.

Before steering the Gin Kings to the three straight wins under his watch, Christmas games were never kind to the coach who had the most wins in PBA history. Cone was just 1-4 in his first five games.

He lost three with Alaska (2002, 2005, 2010) and one with the Purefoods franchise (San Mig Coffee) in 2012.

Cone’s only other win, though, was a 23-point masterpiece of Guiao’s Rain or Shine in 2007.

Cone owns the most appearance of a head coach in Christmas games with his eight appearances.

The unkindness also goes the same for Guiao earlier in his career. He lost his first three games, two with Red Bull (2002 and 2004) and one with Burger King in 2009,

Like Cone, he had found more success lately and also evened his record to 3-3, appearing the second most times.

Guiao rake up three straight wins, piloting Rain or Shine in 2012 and 2014 And NLEX this year.

Guiao and Cone holds both the top two best winning and worst losing margins in Christmas. Guiao got his sweet revenge in 2012 as he was the winning coach of the Rain or Shine team that destroyed the Hotshots by 26 who were then handled by Cone.

BY: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS

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