DESPITE his import's heroics on Monday, Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone felt Justin Brownlee still wasn't at his best against the stingy Meralco defense.
Brownlee hit baskets every time the Kings needed it, and that included a triple with 25 seconds left in the fourth to seal an 88-81 win over the Bolts in Game One of the Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal series.
For Cone though, he felt Brownlee had a difficult time with Meralco’s defense as shown by his 10-of-25 clip from the field.
“I didn’t think he played to his best today,” said Cone. “You have to give Meralco credit for their defense. He put up numbers but he was a volume shooter tonight. You usually don’t see Justin having to get those numbers with that many shots. Again, that’s a credit to Meralco’s defense. They made him really work for his shots.”
Cone, though, isn’t complaining as Brownlee was once again a key in the Kings’ run. Aside from his game-sealing three, Brownlee hit a triple in a 9-0 run that broke a 54-54 deadlock and allowed Ginebra to take control.
“But when it comes down to it, he will hit the big shots when you need it and he has done that for us since he joined our team a couple of years ago. It seems like he always hits the big shots or make a big defensive play and he did it tonight,” Cone said.
Brownlee was also not satisfied with having to take too many shots in Game One.
“I try not to take too many shots. I pride myself in being an unselfish player. I got it going early and I just want to stay aggressive but tonight, throughout the game and before the end, I couldn’t really hit shots consistently. Just tried to stay aggressive though,” Brownlee said.
Brownlee hopes to play better come Wednesday as he expects a fightback from the Bolts particularly Arinze Onuaku, who had 12 points and 18 rebounds in Game One.
“They are a tough team, it wil definitely not be easy. We expect him (Onuaku) to play a big game next game. He didn’t score too well tonight but he rebounded well and other things. We look for him to be aggressive the next game the next game and try to have a big game,” said Brownlee.