MANILA, Philippines—Barangay Ginebra kept its stranglehold on the PBA Governors’ Cup and on the Meralco Bolts on Friday night, extending a one-sided rivalry to a total of four conferences.
The Gin Kings have been enjoying that dominance for one simple reason, according to coach Tim Cone.
“Let me just say …. the difference between us and Meralco, over the last four years, in winning these championships, honestly, is that I have—we have—Justine Brownlee,” he said on the heels of a 103-92 Game 6 close-out victory at a full house Mall of Asia Arena.
“That’s the bottom line,” he went on. “Sorry, Scottie (Thompson). But it’s true. If Justin was on the other side of the floor, I’d think we’d have a really hard time.”
Brownlee, the beloved Gin Kings import, has helped Cone and the popular franchise to five titles. He has backstopped the club a total of eight times since coming in as a replacement for Paul Harris back in 2016.
It could be recalled that Brownlee hit a tough triple over Meralco counterpart Allen Durham to win the 2016 Governors’ Cup at the buzzer.
“I definitely appreciate the compliment, especially it coming from (coach Cone),” the American told reporters. “But of course, I don’t want to take too much credit in that aspect. You know, I just pride myself in trying to do whatever the team needs as an import.”
“We’ve been blessed to have Justin all this time, and that’s been the difference for us,” Cone went said of his ward, who came through in the crucial third period of Game 6 and finished with 24 points, 16 rebounds, and six assists.
Brownlee’s performance that night also put him ahead of the great Billy Ray Bates, also a fellow Ginebra import, in the PBA’s all-time scoring list for imports.
“Like I’ve said, he’s special. I’ve been saying, he’s not gonna be around forever, so you better come to the coliseum and watch him play,” Cone said.
“He’s not gonna be around forever, and he’s special,” he added.
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