AFTER shooting down GlobalPort with his seven three-pointers, Justin Brownlee now sets his sights on hurdling a much bigger roadblock come the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals – literally.
Top-seeded Ginebra is now guaranteed a spot in the semis against the winner of the other best-of-three quarterfinal against TNT KaTropa and Meralco, who happen to have two of the biggest imports in the tournament in Joshua Smith and Alex Stepheson.
The two men are listed 6’10, with TNT’s Smith having the bulk and the weight advantage, while the Bolts’ Stepheson a little more refined physically.
Both also have a size advantage over Brownlee, who at 6-5 is the smallest import in the fold.
“Looking at the two imports, for sure, they’re going to have an advantage on us inside. But I think we can defend them very well with our team effort,” said Brownlee after collecting 39 points, nine rebounds and four assists in Ginebra's 96-85 win over GlobalPort on Tuesday.
Brownlee said being smaller does have its advantages.
“We got some advantages for us, too. We just want to go out there, play hard, play to the best way that we can. Whoever it is, whether its Smith of TNT or Stepheson of Meralco, we’re just… coach Tim is sure to have a game plan for them and we’ll try to execute the best that we can,” he added.
The Ginebra import was once again impressive against GlobalPort, hitting three three-pointers to start the game-breaking run in the third quarter after GlobalPort got within 50-56.
“I just wanted to come out and get a rhythm early, just come out very aggressive, try to set the tone for us very early. That third quarter, we always want to start off well. This whole conference, through eliminations and now the playoffs, third quarter has been our best quarter,” said Brownlee.
“I just felt really well, felt great tonight. Everything I shot felt like it was going in and I’m just blessed to have that feeling. It was fun tonight but we're not satisfied. We’re looking at the semis and try to perform the same way, but even better,” he added.
Now that they are just seven wins away from another title to add to the Governors Cup championship he won with Ginebra last season, the soft-spoken reinforcement challenged his squad further to just keep grinding.
“Just to get better in everything. Whether it’s setting screens or playing help defense, we know we have to elevate our game even higher, especially at this point. You know not necessarily doing things differently or better, just elevating our intensity, whether it’s offense or defense, I think we’ll be ok.”