Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is never running short of confidence going up against whoever is in front of him and it was no different versus Justin Brownlee as TNT and Ginebra figured in a battle of PBA Governors’ Cup favorites, Friday night.
There couldn’t be any more fitting conclusion to the elimination round than to see high-caliber imports go head-to-head, with the former NBA cager emerging triumphant as he helped the Tropang Giga to a 114-105 comeback win.
He finished with 34 points and 11 rebounds with four assists, four steals, and a block as he was one of those who made it a tough night for the three-time Best Import, who needed 24 shots to make 27 points and 10 rebounds.
“No discredit to Justin, but I’m good,” said Hollis-Jefferson when asked about the challenge of battling Brownlee after the match at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
“You can put LeBron in front of me, I’m good, bro.”
Brownlee was made aware of those comments but the soft-spoken 34-year-old didn’t take it against the Pennsylvania-native whatsoever.
“As a player, I’ve been playing for a long time and a lot of players who I’ve encountered, whether it’s on my team or opposing team, in order to win or beat somebody, you gotta think that way,” he shared.
And there remains the respect Hollis-Jefferson has towards Brownlee, saying that he liked the matchup against a ‘phenomenal player.’
“It’s good. He’s a phenomenal player, knows how to get to his spots, plays really well with his team, and has a really high IQ so it was good to play against one like him. I liked it. I liked it a lot,” said the 28-year-old forward.
Now, he’s looking forward to playing in a bigger stage that is the quarterfinals, where the twice-to-beat TNT is facing the 8-seed Phoenix on Sunday.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to being able to compete with the group of guys we have, coaching staff, the whole lot. I’m just looking forward to the atmosphere,” he said. “It’s about locking in and staying focused.
“I feel like we do a phenomenal job from our coach all down to our trainers to equipment people, I feel like we’re all locked in. I’m looking forward to it.”
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.