Balkman looks forward to face-off with 'brother' Brownlee: 'May the best man win'
Renaldo Balkman says the Beermen took advantage of the long All-Star break to get their act together in what he called a 'must-win game' against Phoenix. Jerome Ascano

AFTER leading San Miguel to a maiden victory, Renaldo Balkman turns his focus to Justin Brownlee and Barangay Ginebra who the Beermen will meet in their next game in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Sunday's marquee game will mark the first time Balkman will take on Brownlee since the two imports teamed up to lead San Miguel Alab Pilipinas to the Asean Basketball League (ABL) title.

Balkman called Brownlee his 'brother,' but said the game will be business as usual.

“That’s my brother, man,” said Balkman on Wednesday after compiling 35 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and four blocks in the Beermen's 106-94 win over Phoenix. “We were in the trenches about a month ago. Now we are playing head-to-head.”

But Balkman added: “It’s just like any other game. We come to prepare the same way we prepare every game."

Balkman said the Beermen took advantage of the long All-Star break to get their act together in what he called a 'must-win game' after a 0-3 start.

“We had a lot of time to prepare. We came out and played our game plan. First quarter, we started slow. Second half, we came out better than the first half. Like I said, it was a must-win,” said the enigmatic import.

But it wasn't easy. The Beermen trailed by as many as 13 points and only turned it around in the second half where they outscored Phoenix, 69-45.

“Our intensity,” Balkman said, when asked what changed in the game. “We started the game slowly. Everytime you start out slow, that’s what happens. You got to play and come back throughout the whole game. Halftime, we made our move and we were locked in. We needed the game.”

So, the stage is set for Balkman vs Brownlee.

“May the best man win,” Balkman said. “I’m going to come out and play my game, he is going to play his game. We are going to give fans a great game.”

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