All season long, the San Miguel Beermen had been heavily expected to win a rare Grand Slam. There was a strong case for these aspirations, especially after dominating both the Philippine and Commissioner’s Cups.
But Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena marked the end of their dreams, all because they simply could not provide any answer for the defending Governor’s Cup champions Barangay Ginebra in their quarterfinal bout.
The pressure might have piled up for the Beermen in their pursuit of a Grand Slam, since they had to do it the hard way — overcoming a twice-to-beat-armed Ginebra. And that is what Gin Kings import Justin Brownlee thinks so.
‘Maybe so,” mused the 29-year-old American, who starred for the Barangay with a game-high 37 points on an excellent 59 percent shooting, along with 12 rebounds and four blocks in their convincing 104-84 triumph.
“We definitely wanted to come out and we knew we had a twice-to-beat advantage. We wanted to come out and put the pressure on them.”
But despite being able to win via lopsided fashion, Brownlee still tipped his hat to the Beermen.
“That’s an incredible team, I ain’t taking anything away from them,” said Brownlee. “They’re a championship team. They had a hell of a season. Tough team to beat, we were just very lucky and very fortunate tonight.
“We came out with great rhythm, applied pressure, and got the win.”
After Wednesday night’s win, the Gin Kings are now bound for the semifinals, and will now wait for the winner of the TNT-Rain or Shine series. For Brownlee, though, it doesn’t matter which team they will face next.
“At this point, it doesn’t even matter. I was actually looking at the first half of the Rain or Shine-TNT game, and Rain or Shine is playing at a high level. We all know what TNT can do, so either way it goes, it’s going to be a tough fight,” Brownlee shared.
“We’re not hoping for either team. It doesn’t matter who we play, we’ll try to win.”
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