BOCAUE – There was no need for a spectacular individual finish this time after putting up a strong showing as a unit at the start.
Justin Brownlee didn’t need to deliver another heroic performance like last year as he saw Barangay Ginebra build an early lead, enough to hold off a late Meralco stand on the way to a 101-96 win in Game Seven that completed their title-retention bid.
The 29-year-old Brownlee, who hit the game-winning triple in Game Six of their first Governors’ Cup finals matchup that ended Ginebra’s eight year title-drought, saw the Kings 'establish a 20-point lead in the first half before withstanding a late run by the Bolts to recapture the crown.
Joe DeVance, LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson were among the most consistent, and in this series the team had Greg Slaughter.
“It still feels just as good just winning – period,” Brownlee said after the game. “Coach Tim going into the game told us not to win by twenty points, just to move in and go into the game and get a one-point lead.”
“Words can’t describe it, you know it was definitely fun and challenging, very hard,” he added. “I tip my hat to Meralco, man; they’re a tough team, they battled with everything they had to the last second and just very fortunate and blessed to be playing in a championship game in this arena very blessed.”
After all, over 54,000 fans saw Brownlee provide the Gin Kings the scoring punch when they needed it, on the way to finishing with 23 points, eight boards, five assists, three blocks, and one steal with less than three minutes of rest.
“It just feels great, especially playing in this arena,” Brownlee said. “I never thought, as a kid, of course you dreamt of playing in a championship, but I never thought it would be in a place like this fifty-plus thousand, just an amazing feeling playing on that court and winning the championship is unbelievable.”
The Gin Kings did endure anxious moments the Bolts came to within four points – leaving Brownlee worried.
“Man, I was just wow, I didn’t even look at the clock because we went into the half time and we didn't just want to focus on we wanted to be aggressive, keep in it, before i knew it in the fourth quarter it was a four-point lead,” the Gin Kings reinforcement said.
“I gotta be honest, I got a little nervous, but the team stayed together, focused, we were able to make key stops at the end to win,” he added.
And moments like this keep Brownlee wanting for more next season.
“I hope so, I definitely will (come back),” Brownlee said. “With the success I had with this team, the relationships I had, I’m truly blessed and feel very lucky to be here for my career.”