Import Justin Brownlee has proven himself the savior of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the recently concluded Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup and would definitely be the player to watch out for in the coming Governors’ Cup.
The Gin Kings had a pitiful 1-5 win-loss start this conference, which is the main reason the team signed Brownlee to replace Chuck Garcia.
Brownlee immediately injected life into Ginebra’s campaign, resulting in a five-game winning streak. The Gin Kings qualified for the quarterfinals with a 6-5 record.
“It was definitely hard to see this. But you know I kept saying, the morale of the team, and everybody was staying positive, everybody still came to work you know—everyday, very hard,” Brownlee told reporters after winning the Gin Kings won the Commissioner’s Cup title on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Brownlee ended the elimination and quarterfinals with an average of 28.1 points, 12.5 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.2 blocks. It was his third straight title as an import in the PBA.
“Everybody still sustained their confidence even though we were 1-5. It felt like, I can just remember going to practice and the confidence of the team, it felt like we were five-and-0,” added Brownlee, who is the most diminutive player ever to win the Best Import award since 1996.
“So I think that’s a big thing we had this conference—everybody stay positive—just working hard even when we’re down.”
Ginebra swept Meralco in two games during the quarterfinals then outlasted Rain or Shine in four games in their best-of-five semifinals series to enter the championship round. In the finals, Ginebra dethroned San Miguel Beer in the sixth game of the best-of-seven contest.
Brownlee and the Gin Kings are now looking forward to defending the Governors’ Cup crown for the third straight time.
“I see some of the imports coming in for the Governors’ Cup are very talented—a lot of really good imports. I’m sure it is going to be very tough. If there’s a target on my back, that is what it is, that is something I’m not going to worry about,” said Brownlee.
Brownlee tallied 31 points on top of 19 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and four blocks as Ginebra wrapped up the series in Game 6 with a lopsided 93-77 victory.