BANGKOK — San Miguel Alab Pilipinas coach Jimmy Alapag said Justin Brownlee insisted on playing Game Three on Saturday even after it was determined that he had strained his right hamstring in Wednesday’s Game Two of the ABL finals.
It was initially thought to be just cramps but Alapag said he decided he didn’t want to field Brownlee after the diagnosis.
Still, Brownlee was determined to play, and he put on a scintillating performance, finishing with 27 points and 12 rebounds as Alab took a 2-1 series lead over Mono Vampire.
“Justin was not a hundred percent. I’ve really ran out of explanations to describe what type of player, what type of person he is. He was really a gametime decision,” said Alapag.
“Honestly, my plan was not to play him. But he came up to me and said that he was ready to go. And 37 and a half minutes later, he finishes with 27 (points), 12 (rebounds), and seven (assists),” he said.
Brownlee hit five of 10 attempts from the 3-point line, including one that gave Alab Pilipinas a 78-68 lead. That cushion was enough for the Philippine side looking to close out the series on Monday here.
Alapag also lauded Alab’s trainers led by Chappy Callanta for getting Brownlee in fighting form.
“I have to give credit to coach Jeff and coach Chappy. They were really working with Justin non-stop the last 48, 60 hours that we had since Game Two, try to manage him the best way we could.
“Again, leading up to the game, I really didn’t have no intention of playing him. But he approached me, confidentially pulled me on the side and said, ‘Hey coach I’m going out there,’” said Alapag.
“You talk about Balk, you talk about Justin, you’re talking about two absolute winners both on and off the court,” said Alapag.