Barangay Ginebra San Miguel import Justin Brownlee admitted to falling into a Magnolia trap en route to their stunning 98-106 defeat in Game 1 of their 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Saturday night at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.
For Brownlee, the Gin Kings did not play their game aside from that good first quarter start, and that let the Hotshots lure them into a fast-paced and run-and-gun tempo in their series opener.
“Man, kind of fell into a trap tonight,” said Brownlee whose near triple-double of 37 points, 14 rebounds, and eight assists went for naught in the loss.
“I think we kind of we felt into the trap of playing their game. I think we just gotta get back into playing our game.”
Brownlee himself got it going early in the game, erupting for 20 big points in the first quarter alone to anchor Ginebra’s quick 39-31 lead.
But the Commissioner’s Cup Best Import then cooled down in the second period, as did the Gin Kings, and they were left in the dust by Magnolia’s running game.
Brownlee was held scoreless in that second period where the Hotshots assaulted them, 32-16, to steal the driver’s seat, 63-55, entering the break.
Instead of displaying their ever-known calm and collected basketball built around the triangle offense and suffocating interior defense, Brownlee said they attempted to fight fire with fire with Magnolia, which eventually doomed their chances.
“I think we got too dependent on our offense. We didn’t focus on our defense anymore. We got some baskets. I think we just fell in love with our offense ‘cause we were scoring so well,” he emphasized.
“But we gotta remember we’re a defense-first team and I think that was just the biggest difference after that first quarter.”
Looking at the score sheet, Brownlee was right, as Ginebra indeed stepped on Magnolia’s landmine.
Ginebra committed 22 errors which resulted in Magnolia’s 29 turnover points. The Magnolia backcourt of Mark Barroca, Paul Lee, Jio Jalalon, and Justin Melton accounted for a combined 10 steals.
The Hotshots also edged them out in second chance points (14-13) and assists (26-21).
Nevertheless, Brownlee is not taking away the credit from Magnolia, who brought their A-game to frustrate the Gin Kings and draw first blood in their race-to-three series duel.
“Give credit to Magnolia, they came out and played an incredible game,” he added.
“They hit a lot of shots. Hit some threes. They had it going. They struggled early, they had it going. We just couldn’t stop them.”
Brownlee also pointed to his sloppiness as one of the factors in the loss after contributing five of Ginebra’s 22 turnovers.
“I think I had too many turnovers. I think I made bad mistakes tonight.
“Maybe I need to hold aggression back a little bit. I will just try to still play my game, be aggressive and make better passes for my teammates,” he vowed.
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