As Barangay Ginebra shoots for a fifth PBA Governors' Cup title in seven years, coach Tim Cone will again have a tried and tested weapon heading to the best-of-seven Finals series against either TNT or Meralco.
That weapon is none other than three-time PBA Best Import Justin Brownlee.
Since 2016 when he first came in as a replacement import for the injured Paul Harris, Ginebra went on to end its eight-year title drought en route to winning six league championships with Brownlee leading the way.
The former St. Johns standout guided the Gin Kings to four Governors' Cup crowns, and two Commissioner's Cup titles, this despite giving up a lot of inches battling against taller imports in the mid-season conference.
"Justin is going to make the play. That's the difference (he has) from all the other imports. He'll go out to make the winning play, not the winning shot," Cone said in describing the 6-foot-4 Brownlee's value to the league's most popular squad.
Brownlee, who turns 35 this April, continues to be at the top of his game after averaging 27.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.3 steals and leading the Gin Kings back to the championship round.
Ginebra blanked powerhouse San Miguel Beer, 3-0 in their best-of-five semifinal series, highlighted by a thrilling 87-85 win last Wednesday off Brownlee's pass to Christian Standhardinger, who made the game-winning basket in the dying seconds.
"Sometimes, it will be the winning shot, but he'll (Brownlee) go out to make the winning play whether it be a pass, whether it be a screen, or a rebound, he'll make the winning play, that's what makes him special," added Cone, who is gunning for his all-time best 26th PBA title as head coach.
As the Gin Kings are currently in the early stretch of a long break while waiting for the final outcome of the TNT-Meralco semis pairing, Cone said he has no plans of slowing his team down.
"We're in good rhythm right now. We've been playing well but then we have 10 or 11 days (breal) before we play again (in the Finals)," he said. "But it (long break) does have its own problems so we just have to overcome them for the next 11 days, and make sure the guys stay sharp. We don't wanna take any expected vacation or breaks but work everyday."2023-03-31T16:40:57Z dg43tfdfdgfd