IF Game 1 was undeniably all Ginebra, Game 2 was no doubt all San Miguel.
Even Justin Brownlee won't deny that.
“Man, the defending champs happened. They came out and played tough. They played very hard and tonight showed why they’re winning a lot of championships in the past,” he said on the heels of the Beermen’s 134-109 massacre of the Gin Kings on Sunday in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
It was a complete role reversal for the sister teams in the second game of the best-of-seven championship series, with San Miguel going on a huge push early to establish a 21-10 lead and delivering haymaker after haymaker to build a lead as many as 31, 77-46 early in the second half.
Though Brownlee, the pacesetter for the Best Import award, tried his best to rescue Ginebra from its lackluster start and even finished with 29 points, six rebounds, five assists, and three steals, no amount of effort could turn the tide against a team as vengeful as the Beermen were in the game.
For the soft-spoken reinforcement, the Gin Kings’ desperation after their slow start did show and affected the team’s relentless quest to fight back as they struggled to break through the 19-point deficit barrier.
“We just made a lot of mistakes, especially early on turning the ball over,” he said as Ginebra committed 19 turnovers which led to 27 points for San Miguel.
It doesn’t happen often, too, but Brownlee hit the showers early, picking up his sixth foul with three minutes and 56 seconds remaining with the Gin Kings staring at a 22-point deficit, 123-101, and the game already decided.
“Of course, when you turn the ball over, you try to get it back. I think that’s where some of the fouls came,” he said.
Despite the convincing nature the first two titular games were decided, Brownlee doesn’t see another rout to come for Game 3 as Ginebra now shifts its focus on bouncing back.
“Well, I’m sure neither team probably expects anybody to win via big margin like that, like we won in Game 1 and like how they won tonight. But just from the beginning of the series, we expect it to be hard, tough, and we expect every game to be close,” he said.
“The only thing we expect is to come out with a one-point win. We know from hereon, its gonna be tough because its not gonna be easier.”
Game 2 is on Wednesday, still at Smart Araneta Coliseum.