Malcolm Hill was about to reach Denzel Bowles-esque status on Sunday night with the way he shot free throws in the clutch. With 0.6 ticks left, he sank all three of his freebies to send the Ginebra-Star bout into overtime.
Unfortunately for the 21-year-old American reinforcement and the Hotshots, his heroic act went for naught, as his Star Hotshots side bowed to Justin Brownlee and the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 101-105, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Hill may have lost the game that he had tried his best to win, but the clutch free throws he made — despite all the pressure the Ginebra faithful gave him — left everyone inside the Big Dome completely impressed.
And even Brownlee, who led Ginebra with 33 points and 10 rebounds, could not help but sing high praises to his much-younger counterpart.
“That shows a lot of heart and a lot of courage,” lauded the 29-year-old of the fresh graduate from the University of Illinois.
“He showed great poise and great confidence to make those free throws and force overtime.”
Moreover, Brownlee believes that Hill, who finished the game with 28 points and 10 rebounds, has what it takes to be a great player.
“He’s going to be a great player. He’s already shown us great ability as a young player. First impressions, I think he’s going to be a great player,” said Brownlee, the star of Ginebra’s 2016 Governor’s Cup title run.
But contrary to Hill’s excellent shooting at the foul line was Ginebra’s woes from the same spot, as they only shot 40 percent from it. And for Brownlee, that will be the Gin Kings’ primary focus in their coming practices.
“I’m sure this week coming up, we’re going to spend a lot of time [practicing free throws],” quipped Brownlee.
“If we don’t make them, I’m sure we’re going to be running.”