PBA imports usually light up when talk of the NBA dream comes up after putting up stellar numbers in their respective campaigns in the Philippines.
Not Justin Brownlee.
After making the championship shot that instantly turned him into a Ginebra legend, the Gin Kings reinforcement is setting his sights solely on his expected return for the next PBA season.
“To be honest, I never really think about the NBA (now),” Brownlee admitted. “Of course, that may be every child’s dream and, of course, it was my dream as well to be able to play in the NBA. If I get the opportunity, it’ll be a blessing. It’s always been a dream of mine.”
“But if not, I’d definitely love to come here as long as my career would let me,” he was quick to add. “Playing here is probably the most fun I’ve ever had playing basketball.”
Left undrafted in the 2011 NBA draft, the St. John’s product was good enough to play for the New York Knicks’ summer league team, before becoming a journeyman the next few years.
Now, it seems Brownlee has found his home.
“Honestly, I don’t want to play anywhere else besides the Philippines, especially with the fans, how they embrace me, how great of a team Ginebra is,” said the 28-year-old cager, who’s had stints in Italy, Mexico, and, most recently, France. “Coach Tim (Cone) is probably the best coach I ever played for especially professionally.”
Brownlee received the rock-star treatment anew on Monday night during their victory party at the SMC compound.
The 6-foot-5 forward said he has had initial talk with management regarding his return next Governors’ Cup.
There is even a chance that Brownlee will reinforce the Gin Kings as early as the Commissioner’s Cup, considering Cone also tapped a wing-oriented import in Othyus Jeffers in the last midseason tournament.
“I hope so,” Brownlee said. “We’ll see.”
For now, take your much-deserved rest, Ginebra legend.
“Just relax a little bit and just keep working, getting ready for next year,” Brownlee said. “I’m definitely excited about coming back.”