Do you enjoy watching Philippine basketball? Then you’ve most certainly heard of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Gin Kings, one of the most popular and successful teams in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). But how much do you know about their history, players, and current events? 

This post will provide a summary of the Gin Kings, from their beginnings to their present accomplishments. If you are a die-hard fan or just curious about the topic, you will learn something new from this article. 

History of the Team

The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Gin Kings are a professional basketball club in the Philippines and are part of the PBA. The team has a long and successful history, having won several titles.

The squad was established in 1979 as an extension unit of Ginebra San Miguel, Inc. (formerly known as La Tondeña Distillers, Inc.), a division of San Miguel Corporation (SMC). Larry McNeil and Dean Tolson were the team’s first import players, while Pilo Pumaren was its first head coach.

After the Toyota Tamaraws were dissolved in 1984, the team’s fortunes turned around after a few difficult seasons. Veteran players Robert Jaworski and Francis Arnaiz joined the squad. 

Jaworski would also be appointed head coach of the young Ginebra club. Between 1986 and 1997, Jaworski led the team to four PBA championships in his role as player-coach.

When he returned to a game in 1985 with seven stitches on his mouth following a second-quarter elbow that went awry, the team’s motto, Never-Say-Die, was formed. In the last seven minutes of the game, Jaworski returned to the floor and led the Gins to victory, igniting an unprecedented frenzy despite the team’s 15-point deficit. This was the start of Ginebra’s motto, “Never Say Die.”

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel has won several titles in different PBA conferences over the years. These are a few of their noteworthy accomplishments:

  • December 1986: Barangay Ginebra San Miguel won the PBA Open Conference title for the first time.
  • May 1991: The team won its third PBA First Conference title.
  • July 2004: The Kings won the 2004 PBA Fiesta Conference after going 7 years without a title. They did this by beating Red Bull Barako 3–1 in the first game of a best-of-5 series.
  • October 2016: The team won the Governors’ Cup for the first time in eight years.
  • August 2018: They played the San Miguel Beermen, who were the reigning winners. For the first time since 1997, Ginebra won the PBA Commissioner’s Cup in 2018. They snatched an early lead in the third quarter and never looked back.

Current Players

Justin Brownlee

Justin Donta Brownlee was born on April 23, 1988, in Tifton, Georgia. He played with Barangay Ginebra as a small forward or power forward. Brownlee played college basketball at St. John’s University from 2009 to 2011. 

After being passed over for the 2011 NBA draft, Brownlee played for the Maine Red Claws and the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League. In 2016, he joined Ginebra San Miguel for the first of four seasons there.

Jeremiah Gray

Jeremiah Dayao Gray was born in Thousand Oaks, California, on August 16, 1996. He is of Filipino and American ancestry. He now plays for the Gin Kings as a small forward/shooting guard. 

Gray played basketball in college at Dominican University of California from 2016 to 2018, after spending 2014 and 2015 at Moorpark College. He was the second player that the Terrafirma Dyip selected in the first round of the 2022 PBA draft.

Christian Standhardinger

Christian Karl Hermoso Standhardinger was born in Munich, West Germany, on July 4, 1989. Barangay Ginebra San Miguel now has him on their roster as a power forward or center. 

After attending the University of Hawaii from 2012 to 2014, Standhardinger played basketball in college at the University of Hawaii from 2009 to 2011. Following his ineligibility for the 2014 NBA draft, he played professionally in Germany and Hong Kong.

Jamie Malonzo

Born on July 31, 1996, in Seattle, Washington, USA, Jamie James Malonzo Orme currently plays with the Gin Kings as a small forward/power forward. 

Malonzo played basketball in college at Dominican University of California (DUCC) from 2017–2019, De La Salle University (DLSU) in 2019, and Highline College (HCC) from 2015–2017. NorthPort Batang Pier picked him with the second overall pick in the first round of the 2020 PBA draft.

Scottie Thompson 

Born on July 12, 1993, in Padada, Davao del Sur, Philippines, Earl Scottie Carreon Thompson currently plays as a shooting guard or point guard for the Gin Kings. 

Thompson played basketball in college from 2011 to 2015 at the University of Perpetual Help System (DALTA). He was selected by Barangay Ginebra San Miguel with the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 2015 PBA draft.

The Coach

Earl Timothy Cone, born in the United States on December 14, 1957, is the head coach of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel. He has won more than a thousand games as a coach in the Philippine Basketball Association and has more than twenty-five coaching trophies, including two Grand Slams. Cone is now also the head coach of Gilas Pilipinas, the Philippine National Team.


Latest Achievements

The Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings win the 2022-23 Comissioner’s Cup

A stellar game from Justin Brownlee and the ever-present home court advantage the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings usually enjoy were, among other things, the recipe for the Gin Kings’ 15th PBA Championship.

Christian Standhardinger may have won Finals MVP thanks to his steady presence on both ends of the floor for much of the 2022-2023 Honda PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals and Jamie Malonzo may have had the best game of his career in Game 7, but Brownlee set the tone early in the title clincher.

The three-time PBA Best Import of the Conference was relentless in his drives to the basket, mixing up his layups with some jumpshots in the perimeter and from behind the 3-point line. The rest of Ginebra followed suit, as the Gin Kings frontline asserted themselves inside, while the backcourt punished the Bay Area Dragon’s defense with some momentum-dousing shots. The Dragons still found ways to score inside, but their dismal 3-point shooting (26 percent on 42 shot attempts) could not have come at a worse time.

The cohesion that Brownlee has with Ginebra since suiting up for the team in 2016 has made him a candidate for naturalization since the PBA championships came in bunches. It’s not uncommon for imports to do a little bit of everything, but there are those that tend to force the issue and (intentional or not) sacrifice team success for individual numbers. With Brownlee, it’s all about winning, with his stats at the end of the game merely being a product of his efforts to put his team over the top.

The 2022-2023 PBA Commissioner’s Cup ended with how it started: a 15-point win by the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. The Gin Kings couldn’t have scripted for themselves a better ending for them and their fans and while their fanbase basks in the glory of championship success, the rest of the country hopes that this stellar effort from Justin Brownlee and company can eventually translate to glory on the international stage.