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Tiebreaker Times


Brownlee never expected to win a PBA title. Now, he has five

Justin Brownlee never imagined that he would win many PBA championships when he first came to Barangay Ginebra back about half a decade ago.

For the American cager, on top of his mind then, really, was to do the best he could in filling in for the injured Paul Harris during the 2016 Governors’ Cup.

“When I first came, you know, I was only supposed to be here one month. And that’s what I had my mind set on. Just to try to help the team as much as I can, and when Paul got healthy, he would get back,” he said.

“I was just hoping to help the team. I didn’t have many expectations. Even ’til now,” added Brownlee, a former teammate of Harris in the NBA G-League.

On Friday night, the 33-year-old went on to collect his fifth PBA title after helping the Kings close out Meralco in six through a 103-92 victory — in front of a pandemic-record 20,224 fans at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

2021-22-PBA-Governors-Cup-Finals-Ginebra-Justin-Brownlee-x-Alfrancis-Chua-2 Brownlee never expected to win a PBA title. Now, he has five Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

Photo by PBA Images

“I didn’t expect this,” said the two-time Best Import, who finished with 24 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks in the clincher.

And it happened on the very same night he surpassed the great Billy Ray Bates to place fifth in the league’s all-time scoring list among imports.

“It feels great, you know, to be able to accomplish things in this league,” he said. “I feel like this is a great league. It’s very established, and has a lot of history. You know, a lot of great players, imports and locals, have played here.”

Brownlee’s latest golden finish with the same franchise he helped end an eight-year title drought in 2016, moreover, feels ‘very special’ for him, given the predicament he got into before flying back to the country.

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The resident import needed some time to regain his old form after suffering an ankle injury during his stint with UAE around March of last year.

“I was questioning myself, like, how would I come back. Not in the best of shape, have a bad injury. This is very special personally,” he said.

“It was difficult. Just from having a great passion, just wanting to compete and play basketball. It was difficult trying to get in shape. I don’t know when I would play, if I’d ever play again I wouldn’t know because of the pandemic.

“It was just so up and down. It was hard. And then especially coming back, you know I really tried to work hard and I give a lot of credit to the coaching staff, and you know, the PT guys Aron, and Paul, I think they did a great job,” he continued.

Making it even sweeter is that Brownlee won a chip on the eve of his birthday. So now, he could plan freely on how he can celebrate after accomplishing his goal of giving the league’s most popular team another crown.

2021-22-PBA-Governors-Cup-Finals-Ginebra-Justin-Brownlee-x-Prince-Caperal Brownlee never expected to win a PBA title. Now, he has five Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

Photo by PBA Images

“I wasn’t trying to think ahead, you know. Just in case we had a Game Seven. But now, I’m definitely trying to think of something.”

All PBA games stream live on GigaPlay. Download it now on Android or IOS.

The Finals are also livestreamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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