TIM Cone and Barangay Ginebra welcome the timely arrival of one, oh-so familiar face as they try to turn their campaign around in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
On Thursday, the Kings officially activated resident import Justine Brownlee for Charles Garcia in time for the team’s Friday clash against old rival Meralco at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Brownlee rejoins a Ginebra team that so far could only win one of its first four outings going to its 7 p.m. game against former Best Import Arinze Onuaku and the Bolts (3-2).
Cone said Brownlee coming on board is indeed, a boost for the Kings, who will only have the benefit of a one day rest after the Meralco game before they take on the defending champion San Miguel on Sunday.
“We have a tough, make-or-break weekend ahead, and we need a sense of urgency since we’re piling up the rear in the standings,” said the champion coach of his beloved team, which is currently tied with the Beermen for 10th to 11th place with identical record of 1-3.
“Needless to say, we’re all very happy that Justin is back with us and 100 percent healthy.”
The Kings retained their Governors Cup title the last time Brownlee suited up for the team last year, beating the Bolts in Game 7 before an all-time record crowd of 54,086 at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
He was originally tabbed to be the team’s import in the mid-season tournament, but couldn’t come earlier owing to his commitment with Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL), which he also steered to the championship in tandem with San Miguel counterpart Renaldo Balkman.
Prior to Brownlee coming over, the Kings dropped a heartbreaking double overtime setback to the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 103-98, just before the All-Star break.
Now Cone only sees a positive effect with Brownlee finally rejoining the team.
“He gives all of us, players and coaching staff, confidence and renewed energy, and we’re hoping his presence will get us over the hump this weekend,” a confident Cone said.