JUSTIN Brownlee has no doubt in his mind as to who the best local player is in the Asean Basketball League.
While the success of San Miguel Alab Pilipinas has mostly been attributed to him and Renaldo Balkman, Brownlee says that their group of locals – led by reigning local MVP Ray Parks – should also get a share of the headlines for bringing them to this point.
And he believes that there shouldn’t be any more questions as to who the local MVP is in this tournament.
“They’ve been stepping up a lot and we wouldn’t be as successful as we are now without the local players,” said Brownlee.
“Ray Parks should be local MVP again, two-time local MVP. I don’t see anybody that could probably come close to him in that regard.”
Surrounded by talent at Ginebra in the PBA, it’s not much different this time at Alab. The soft-spoken forward out of St. John’s feels blessed to be playing with a solid different crew as he tries to win his first championship in the regional league.
“You got guys like Ray Parks, you got Pao (Javelona), Lawrence (Domingo) has been stepping up and playing great, Pamboy (Raymundo)… there are just so many guys, I can go down and make a list,” Brownlee continued. “Even Dondon (Hontiveros), the young fella, you know I call him the young fella, he’s hitting big shots and playing great for us. Just a collective group, everybody’s been stepping up.”
Local MVP or not, it doesn’t matter for Parks. What matters to him is how the locals play collectively and prove that the Philippines still has the best homegrown talents in the tournament.
“I feel like we have the best locals in the league. It’s a testament to our character and hard work, all of us, for working hard,” Parks said.
The key for Parks is the mutual trust that they have with their powerhouse reinforcements and as long as they do their part in backstopping the prolific pair of Balkman and Brownlee – then Alab should be going places.
“We’re just trying to back them up, Renaldo and Justin, make their jobs easier,” Parks said.
“Team chemistry is great. They trust us to knock down shots when they kick it out, we trust them to make the big plays. All we can do is to support, help and defend and make their job easier.”