JUSTIN Brownlee knows he’ll have the Barangay Ginebra Kings behind his back now that the going gets tough in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The playoffs of the mid-season tournament starts on Monday, with the league’s most popular ballclub seeded No. 1 after finishing the elimination round with a 94-80 beating of Mahindra on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
But waiting Brownlee, the smallest among this current batch of imports, are bigger and tougher reinforcements in the mold of San Miguel’s Charles Rhodes, Ricardo Ratliffe of Star, Joshua Smith of TnT Katropa, and Alex Stepheson of Meralco.
The soft-spoken Ginebra import however, is banking on the help of his bigger teammates to balance out whatever disadvantage he has in terms of height and heft.
“It’s gonna be tough because of the size and strength,” he pointed out. “But you know, that’s why you got teammates for, to help you out. I think my teammates has done a great job of helping me and vice versa.”
Brownlee though, had shown he can compete with the best of them.
Against Mahindra’s Keith Wright, the Ginebra import scored 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting, had 10 rebounds and five assists to help the Kings clinch the No. 1 seed at the end of the eliminations of an import-laden meet for the first time in 20 years.
The last time Ginebra was the top seed going to the playoffs of tournament with imports came in 1997 when it won the Commissioner’s Cup behind Chris King.
Brownlee doesn’t guarantee the same success, but vows to go all-out in his bid to give the team another championship after last season’s Governors Cup title.
“It feels great, but we’re not satisfied. We still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “It’s great to finish the eliminations as top seed especially with a twice-to-beat advantage. But we’ll just come in there and play strong and defend the No. 1 spot.”