MANILA, Philippines – Alab Pilipinas may have won Game 1 of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) Finals, but Justin Brownlee knows there is a lot of basketball left to be played.
For now, he and the rest of Alab have their sights set on completing their home stint with a huge 2-0 title series advantage before heading to Thailand for Game 3.
“Giving up 130 points is definitely not gonna win us a championship,” Brownlee said after Alab Pilipinas’ 146-130 overtime shootout with Thailand’s Mono Vampire in Game 1 on Sunday night, April 22, in Sta. Rosa.
In that game, Brownlee dropped a new ABL finals record of 46 points that went along with 11 rebounds and 9 assists for a near triple-double outing. The former Barangay Ginebra San Miguel star import played all but the last 27 seconds of overtime when the game was finally in the bag for the home team.
Brownlee also delivered in the clutch by draining a pull-up triple in regulation that cut Mono’s 4-point lead to one. Although he later missed free throws, Renaldo Balkman salvaged it with a game-tying tip that forced overtime. Brownlee then scored 10 of Alab’s huge 22 overtime points which put away the feisty Thai squad for good.
Yet after all of that, Brownlee was quick to deflect credit to his teammates, even after Alab coach Jimmy Alapag called his 44-minute masterpiece a “Hercules-type” effort.
“We’re a team that depends on [one another],” Brownlee said post-game. “One man can’t do it. Unfortunately, I missed those two free throws and I’m still knocking over the head for that one. But like I said, we depend on [one another]. It’s a team sport and we got to this point playing together.”
“Balkman, you know, he was there for me,” he added. “I missed the two free throws and the putback to tie the game but Balkman and a couple of other guys just stayed there fighting for me. That’s just the character of our team.”
Coincidentally, Brownlee now shares the ABL playoff scoring record with Balkman, who dropped his own 46 points in a crucial Game 1 semifinals win against former champion Hong Kong Eastern led by prized San Miguel Beermen rookie Christian Standhardinger.
Alab will shoot for a huge 2-0 advantage in Game 2 of the best-of-five series on Wednesday, April 25, at 8 pm at the Sta. Rosa Multi-purpose Complex at Sta. Rosa, Laguna. – Rappler.com