MANILA, Philippines – Justin Brownlee warned that Barangay Ginebra needs to play a “whole lot harder” the next time out after escaping Magnolia in Game 1 of their quarterfinals duel in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Ginebra was forced to play slow by the defensive-minded Magnolia, but managed to hack out an 85-79 victory to draw first blood in the best-of-three series on Saturday, July 20.
Despite the loss, Magnolia displayed discipline on the defensive end after containing Brownlee – who averaged a league-leading 35.9 points and had 99 points combined in his last two games – to just 20 points in 45 minutes.
Magnolia almost limited the entire Ginebra squad, which ended the elimination round norming 102.5 points.
“They usually play better after a loss, unlike probably most teams or people do but they’re a championship-caliber team,” Brownlee said of Magnolia.
As history suggests, Magnolia can be extremely dangerous coming off a defeat, especially when Ginebra is on the other side just like the last two times the two teams faced each other in the playoffs.
In the Governors’ Cup semifinals last year, Magnolia bounced back from a loss to Ginebra in Game 3 and wrapped up the series in 4 games before eventually clinching the season-ending championship against Alaska.
Another instance was when Magnolia lost the opener to Ginebra in the Philippine Cup quarterfinals a couple of months ago before winning the next two games to advance to the next round.
“We know they’ve won a championship – they’ve been to the finals this past conference – so we’re just expecting another battle and if we want to win the next game, we’re going to have to play a whole lot harder than we did tonight.”
Brownlee and Ginebra seek to close out Magnolia when they meet in Game 2 at the Araneta Coliseum on Tuesday, July 23. – Rappler.com
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