TIM Cone is banking on chemistry and winning attitude as Justine Brownlee returns for Barangay Ginebra’s title retention bid in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Cone said no one can question what Brownlee achieved for the team last year when he played a key role in the Kings winning the mid-season conference title and at the same time, running away with the Best Import plum despite being the shortest in a field that has a height limit of 6-foot-11.
“There wasn’t much of a reluctance in bringing him back. None. Zero,” said the Ginebra mentor.
The import-laden conference kicks off on May 19 and the Kings open their title-retention campaign five days later (May 24) when they battle the Blackwater Elite at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The two teams played against each other in a tune-game on Tuesday at the Upper Deck gym in Pasig, with Ginebra emerging victorious over rookie RayRay Parks and the Elite.
Both Ginebra and Blackwater saw action minus their respective imports as Alex Stepheson will only arrive on Wednesday and Brownlee set to come over next week.
Cone said it’s good the 31-year-old Brownlee will be coming off a championship stint with the Al Riyadi Club in the Lebanese Basketball Championship.
“Needless to say he’s a winner and he brings that winner mentality to the team,” said Cone of the same import, who steered the Kings to back-to-back Governors Cup championships in 2016 and 2017.
Cone also said the entire Ginebra organization has developed a keen liking for the soft-spoken import.
“Everyone loves playing with Justin, and as coaches, we love coaching him,” he stressed. “We’re all looking forward to his return.”
Brownlee will also serve as Barangay Ginebra's import in the season-ending Governors Cup.