Justin Brownlee reflected for a while after he and the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel took Game One of their 2017 Governor’s Cup Finals versus the Meralco Bolts. For him, the win had some sense of reversal that completely went in their favor.
“Last year, we didn’t have a good start in the series,” said Brownlee, referring to their 109-114 loss to the Bolts in Game One of the 2016 Finals, “This time, we won.
“Tonight we just tried to set the tone and we tried to be aggressive.
“Fortunately for us today, Meralco didnt shoot too well from the three and it gave us a little edge,” added the 29-year-old American, who steered the Barangay with 32 points, 19 rebounds, and six assists en route to the 102-87 victory.
But aside from starting their title defense on the right foot, the versatile six-foot-five guard-forward also felt a sense of being revitalized — and not just himself, but the whole Gin Kings team as well.
And it is all because he has seven-footer Greg Slaughter on his side, the big man they had missed in last year’s title series due to an ACL injury in his right knee.
The 28-year-old slotman, now fully healed, was a vital piece of Ginebra’s Game One win, as he finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. And Brownlee was plenty relieved, as Slaughter’s presence eased off the pressure on him.
“He definitely makes our offense a lot easier,” lauded Brownlee. “He gets under the bottom and around the rim and very difficult to stop there. He had a great game. We kept looking for him for him to stay on his rythm.
“He is doing a great job and we hope that continues along the series.”
It is inevitable that the Bolts will plot more schemes as they aim to level the series come Game 2. But for Brownlee, he simply hopes that Game Two this Sunday will still go in their favor.
“Hopefully it turns out like Game One,” said Brownlee with a smile before walking away.