RESIDENT import Justin Brownlee admitted playing against Bay Area side Sunday night and the thought of playing for the country were enough to fire him up in Barangay Ginebra’s much-awaited clash with the guest team.
Dragged to a tight first half, Brownlee sparked Ginebra’s fiery third quarter scoring rampage after dropping 18 of his game-high 46 points to lead the Kings to a dominant 111-93 victory over the Dragons in the 2022-23 PBA Commissioner’s Cup match.
“I guess it’s motivation because they’re the top team in the league, 4-0 (to start the conference) and we just wanna come out and play them hard, give them a good game, and try to focus on defense, while also to represent the Philippines and the league,” Brownlee told media men during Sunday night’s presser.
The two-time PBA Best Import’s repertoire of offense were in full display against the Dragons, scoring on three-pointers, attacking the rim for either a layup or a dunk and converting his mid-range shots. When the dust had settled, the former St. John’s standout shot 17-of-26 overall, which included an impressive 13-of-17 from the two-point range as he totally outshined Bay Area’s reinforcement Andrew Nicholson.
Nicholson, the Orlando Magic’s first round draft choice in the 2012 NBA Draft, scattered 28 points and hauled down 12 rebounds. But he could only score two points in the second half when the Kings made their blazing run.
Kings coach Tim Cone was beaming during the presser, citing the “new Ginebra” that fans saw. He was obviously referring to new recruits Jamies Malonzo and trade acquisition Jeremiah Gray, who surprised everyone after seeing action as well.
“It’s fun to watch Jamie run the floor, it’s fun to watch Stanley run the floor and we got a glimpse of Jeremiah Gray today,” Cone said.
Malonzo finished with 17 points, including an authoritative dunk after blowing by Bay Area defenders during the first half. An All-Rookie team member last season, the 6-foot-7 Malonzo added six boards, an assist and a block.
Gray, meantime, added five markers including three boards.
“Basically, it’s the new Ginebra in many ways with Jamie and Jeremiah, They had a lot of athleticism. We love the athleticism, and I think it kind of thrilled the crowd. They used to see Japeth do it but now we got another guy to do it,” said Cone.
The American coach was also thrilled to put one over Australian national coach Brian Goorjian.
“Personally, I do have so many reasons to be motivated. They (Dragons) have been beating everybody up. They won four games already here and a couple tough games,” said the PBA’s all-time winning coach.
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