JUSTINE Brownlee remains on stand-by mode for Barangay Ginebra.
Tim Cone will be sticking it out with import Charles Garcia when the Kings return to the court on Sunday to face unbeaten TnT Katropa in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Kings had the benefit of a week’s rest following what Cone described as a ‘terrible,’ ‘terrible,’ ‘terrible,’ showing against Rain or Shine in a 108-89 loss during their conference debut.
And Cone hopes the break gave Garcia the chance to finally adjust and fit in after struggling in his first game for the team – partly due to his adjustment to the humid weather in the country.
“Now that our import Charles Garcia had a full week of practice without issues, we’re hoping he can put a better performance together and live up to his potential,” said Cone of the 29-year-old Garcia, a veteran of the NBA G-League.
Garcia finished with 19 points and eight rebounds as he obviously still has to blendin with the Kings after being one of the last few imports to arrive as a last-minute replacement for Shane Edwards.
The averages churned out by the Los Angeles, California native quickly raises speculation on Brownlee joining the Kings anew at the end his stint with Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
Just like what he did for the Kings in the last two PBA Governors Cups, Brownlee steered Alab to the ABL championship, teaming up beautifully with explosive partner Renaldo Balkman.
But Cone seemed bent on giving Garcia the benefit of the doubt, as the import still has the backing of his coach for the match-up against Jeremy Tyler and the Katropa (2-0).
At 6-9, Garcia is also a better option for Ginebra, especially with its starting center, Greg Slaughter, yet to rejoin the team in the mid-season conference.
Brownlee, at 6-5, will be the smallest import in the fold if and when he comes in.
Cone also emphasize the need for his locals to do their part as only big man Japeth Aguilar was consistent for the Kings in their 19-point blowout at the hands of the Elasto Painters.
“We need our locals to step up as well,” said the 60-year-old mentor. “TnT is such as tough matchup for us because they have such different strengths than us.”
“Who can play their game will be the key,” added the Ginebra coach.