Barangay Ginebra import Justin Brownlee drew praises from coach Tim Cone after saving the Gin Kings once again with a game-winning and-one play against the Alaska Aces in the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday.
With Ginebra down in the dying seconds, Brownlee took matters into his own hands. He blew past his defender, Corey Jefferson of Alaska, drove hard to the basket and got a foul. He completed the three-point play to further extend Ginebra’s win streak to five games.
After the game, Cone expressed his admiration for Brownlee who is no stranger to delivering heroics for the crowd favorites.
“Everybody thought he will stop and pull up and make that trey again, like what he did against Meralco in the (Governors’ Cup) finals, but he got a little hesitation move and went hard to the rim and got a three-point play instead,” Cone said.
“That’s just Justin being Justin. He’s a such an intelligent player, so intelligent.
“He always seem to make the right play – whether it would be offense or defense. He is so incredibly coachable. That’s one of the things he really amazes me about. He is so coachable. He is such a great chemistry guy.
Everybody in the team absolutely adores him. He gets along with everybody – Fil-Ams, locals, ball boys, it doesn’t matter. He hands out with everybody.”
Brownlee said he thought about pulling up for a jumper, but had to drive instead due to Jefferson’s defense.
“He was playing really good defense. He didn’t allow me to pull up and shoot. I had to try to take it to the basket,” said Brownlee who assumed the leadership role on the team during crunchtime.
“Those are the moments where imports should take over. I’m not saying trying to be a hero, but in those moments, you have to be aggressive and give my team the best opportunity to make the shot, win a game or make a defensive stop,” he said.
But Brownlee deflected credit to his coach who has allowed him to flourish in the PBA. .
“I just tried to do the things he says, try to listen. He’s a great coach,” he said.
Cone could not help but compare him to another great import, Sean Chambers, whom he coached at Alaska and helped the team to numerous championships, including a Grand Slam in 1996.
“The only guy who can compare him to that I’ve coached in my career is Sean Chambers. The two of them are very, very much alike in terms of that friendliness and chemistry and get along with everybody then come out and play hard every night,” Cone said.