This Day In PBA History: Mitchell Wiggins scores 78 to become part of Ginebra lore

Rey Joble

Posted at Jul 17 2021 12:37 PM

Ginebra San Miguel owns the distinction of bringing in two imports, whose sons made their marks in the NBA.

Wes Matthews, a guard who became a part of the Los Angeles Lakers’ back-to-back champion teams in 1987 and 1988, played for the Gin Kings and led them to the PBA finals in the 1991 Third Conference before losing to the Alaska Milkmen.

Matthews is the father of current Lakers guard Wes Matthews.

After a successful run in 1991 where they completed one of the greatest comeback victories in PBA finals history by overhauling a 1-3 deficit before winning the First Conference championship against Shell, the Gin Kings had a turbulent campaign the next 3 years.

In its bid to change its fortunes following disappointing finishes in 1992 and 1993, Ginebra carried the name Tondeña Rhum 65. The team owned the No. 1 pick in the draft that year and exercised its options by getting Noli Locsin, a burly 6-foot-3 forward.

Throughout the 1994 season, the team didn’t reach the playoffs, but in one game in the Commissioner’s Cup, Mitchell Wiggins, whose son Andrew Wiggins is now a star player in the NBA playing for the Golden State Warriors, made history by becoming the fourth Ginebra import to score at least 78 points.

On this day, July 17, 1994, Wiggins dropped 78 points as Tondeña Rhum 65 defeated Sta. Lucia, 150-148, in overtime. The 78 points Wiggins produced was the fourth most by a Ginebra import.

Lew Massey, the pigeon chested, high-scoring import, knocked in 85 points on March 25, 1982, while playing for Gilbey’s Gin, the name carried at the time by the Ginebra franchise.

Carlos Briggs, who averaged 60 points per game in the 1989 Third Conference, scored 89 points on November 12, 1989, while playing for Añejo Rhum 65, another brand carried by Ginebra.

Gilbey’s Gin/St. George were also brands carried by the old Ginebra franchise and one of its former import scored 88 points -- Larry McNeil -- but the said reinforcement registered the feat while he was already playing for Winston Cigarette Kings in 1983.

The most points by a Ginebra import was posted by Michael Hackett, who previously held the single-game scoring record of 103 points, which he registered on November 21, 1985, when Ginebra defeated Great Taste, 197-168. His previous mark was shattered by Tony Harris, who finished with 105 points while playing for Swift in the 1992 Third Conference. 

Rey Joble is a sportswriter who has been covering the PBA since 1998, and a fan of the league way before that. 

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