MANILA, Philippines – Watch Justin Brownlee while you still can.
Tim Cone marveled at Brownlee as he pointed to the beloved import as the difference maker after Barangay Ginebra beat Meralco for the fourth straight time to claim the PBA Governors’ Cup crown.
Brownlee averaged 28.8 points, 13.2 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2.8 blocks, and 1.5 steals in six finals games to capture his fifth championship in eight tours of duty for the Gin Kings.
Four of those titles came at the expense of Meralco and coach Norman Black.
“The difference between us and Meralco over the last four years – the difference between me and Norman over the last four years – is that I have, we have Justin Brownlee,” Cone said.
“And that is the bottom line.”
Brownlee has been breaking the Bolts’ hearts for more than five years now as he sank the game-winning triple in Game 6 of the 2016 Governors’ Cup finals – the first time Ginebra and Meralco faced off in a title series.
He went on to lead the Gin Kings to two more Governors’ Cup championships in 2017 and 2019, both at the Bolts’ expense.
Not much has changed.
On the eve of his 34th birthday, Brownlee unloaded 17 of his 24 points in a pivotal third quarter as Ginebra disposed of Meralco through a 103-92 win in Game 6 on Friday, April 23, for its sixth title in six seasons.
That third-quarter explosion from Brownlee after a measly two-point outing in the first half proved to be the turning point for the Gin Kings in their bid of denying the Bolts their first championship in franchise history.
While Black sought to break the curse with Tony Bishop in tow after losing the first three title duels with three-time Best Import winner Allen Durham, a Ginebra crew reinforced by Brownlee remained a tough nut to crack.
“If Justin was on the other side, I’d think we would have a really hard time. But we have Justin all this time,” said Cone, who hiked his tally to a record 24 titles and six with the Gin Kings.
“He is special. He is not going to be around forever, so come see him and watch him play.” – Rappler.com