Friends turned foes: Brownlee, Balkman headline Ginebra-San Miguel duel

Delfin Dioquino
Friends turned foes: Brownlee, Balkman headline Ginebra-San Miguel duel
The ultra-talented imports vow to put on a show in a game pitting two of the league's most famous squads

MANILA, Philippines – Renaldo Balkman and Justin Brownlee will share the basketball court again, but this time, they will be on different sides. 

The ultra-talented imports, who teamed up to steer Alab Pilipinas to the ASEAN Basketball League championship, headline the slugfest between the PBA’s juggernauts in San Miguel Beermen and Barangay Ginebra. 

Pride and a fighting chance for the playoffs is at stake as Balkman’s San Miguel and Brownlee’s Ginebra square off in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup today, June 3, at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

The two teams are both at the lower echelon of the league, with the Beermen carrying a 1-3 card and the Gin Kings holding a 1-4 record. 

Although Balkman admits he considers Brownlee as his “brother,” he will be all business when they meet. 

“May the best man win. And I coming out there playing my game, I know he’s going to play his. We’re going to put on a show,” said the Puerto Rican. 

Brownlee, meanwhile, said it will be a little “awkward” facing Balkman, especially since it has been only a month since they last played with each other when Alab edged Mono Vampire in a winner-take-all Game 5. 

“It’s got to be awkward at first [but] I got to treat him as an opponent.”

“He’s an incredible player, he can definitely score the basketball, he’s a defender who can get his hands on the ball. He was the Defensive Player (of the Year) in ABL. We definitely got our hands full,” added the American. 

No matter what the result will be, Balkman said nothing can break the bond he and Brownlee have built together.

“Regards to what happens, he lose, I loss, whatever, we’re still going to be brothers at the end of the day.” –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.