Aug 10, 2018

Jeff Chan relishes first championship with Ginebra

THE moment Jeff Chan got ship to Barangay Ginebra, he already has a gut feel of probably winning a PBA championship or two with the popular franchise.

But this fast? Not really.

And so Chan imbibed the moment as he won his first ever title with the Kings just two months after being acquired by the ballclub via a trade with Phoenix.

"Sobrang saya. Hindi ko akalain na ngayong conference," said an elated Chan after Ginebra dethroned San Miguel as Commissioner's Cup champion, 93-77, in Game Six of the finals played before a roaring crowd of 20,490 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

"Akala ko next conference pa dahil nga defending champion kami ng Governors Cup."

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But Ginebra was determined to win this one and finished off San Miguel when the opportunity came, outscoring the Beermen in a big third quarter turnaround, 27-8, to hold a 62-46 lead entering the payoff period.

It was over from there.

Chan capped his first championship stint with the Kings by shooting 2-of-3 from three-point range to finish with 10 points to go along with two rebounds and two assists.

"Ang sarap," he said. "First of all, ilang conference din na early exit ako, ngayon lang ulit ako naka-abot ng Finals. Tapos nag champion pa."

For the record, the last time the 35-year-old shooting guard from Bacolod played in a title series and won the championship was in the 2016 edition of the Commissioner's Cup while still playing under coach Yeng Guiao at Rain or Shine.

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Although the Kings were coming off back-to-back wins when Chan came on board, the team was still down in the standings at 3-5 back then and fighting for a playoff spot.

Everything changed when Ginebra strung up eight successive victories - including six upon Chan's entry - all the way to Game 1 of the semi-finals against Rain or Shine.

"Nung nagkaroon kami ng (winning) streak, nakita namin na may chance kami kasi gumanda yung takbo ng team," he said.

"Napaganda rin yung naging match-up sa playoffs. Malaking bagay din yun," added Chan. "Nagtuluy-tuloy nung playoffs. Yung kumpiyansa namin tumaas."

Although already winner at Ginebra, Chan said the adjustment continues for him, having been with the team only last June 18.

"Sabi lang ni coach Tim (Cone), laro mo lang yung laro mo, but within the system pa rin," he said. "Actually ngayon mayroon pang kaunti, naiilang pa rin ako. Pero sabi nga nung iba (coaching staff), darating din yan. Makukuha mo rin yung rhythm mo in time, huwag ka lang magmadali."(RG)