At the start of the 2008 Fiesta Conference, things quickly went south for Ginebra. They started the conference with a record of 0-5. In those five games, the Gin Kings already had two imports who could not mesh with the team. Hopes for a quest for another title became bleak for the Kings. Many considered this to be a period when the PBA was at its most competitive with teams equally balanced in terms of firepower and talent.
The odds were stacked against them. Going winless after playing nearly half of their games put them in a desperate hole. If they wanted to keep their championship bid alive, they would have to win all their remaining games while hoping for a few key losses from lower-ranked teams, a Herculean task; one that would have seen lesser teams just roll over and die. But this was Ginebra. They Never Say Die.
Ginebra acquired the services of Chris Alexander and the team was given a jolt of life. Alongside the stellar play of Jayjay Helterbrand, Alexander led Ginebra to finish the regular season on a six-game winning streak, allowing them to buck off the terrible start and barely make the playoffs.
In the playoffs, they steamrolled through the Sta. Lucia Realtors in the quarterfinals and swept the Red Bull Barako in the semis to enter the Finals. Alexander was named the Best Import of the Conference while Helterbrand was awarded the Best Player of the Conference.
Their finals matchup was against the top-seeded Air21 Express. While Ginebra was hitting its stride as a team, the Express presented a mighty challenge for the Gin Kings.
Air21 was composed of three Hall of Fame-caliber players. They had 2013 PBA MVP Arwind Santos, Gilas Pilipinas hero Ranidel De Ocampo and El Granada Gary David. While the three of them were still not at the peak of their careers, their pure basketball talent could not be denied.