Barangay Ginebra has been around Justin Brownlee long enough to know that the Gin Kings are way past hoping he bounces back from an awful shooting night.
They’re already expecting it.
“He’s had tough nights in the past,” said coach Tim Cone after Brownlee missed 13 of his 16 attempts, a stunning percentage that contributed to a frustrating night for Ginebra in Game 2 of the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup Finals at Smart Araneta Coliseum .
Brownlee finished with 12 points and missed all his five shots from beyond the arc as TNT made up for an iffy Game 1 showing with a near-resounding 95-82 victory that knotted the series at one game apiece.
Brownlee hit three free throws after being fouled by Matt Ganuelas-Rosser in the final seconds of the third to get to his 12 points and spared the Ginebra import from being held to single digits for the first time in his career here.
Brownlee has so far played 234 games, scoring in twin digits each time.
But Cone brushed off Brownlee’s woes and expressed confidence that the guy in the No. 32 jersey will show up with big numbers for game No. 235 and restore Ginebra’s grip on the championship series.
“I never worry about him having a tough night because he always responds well,” Cone said.
Brownlee had more points in the first quarter of Game 1—he had 17 to fuel a hot Ginebra start en route to a 102-90 victory—than he had the whole of Game 2. The naturalized Filipino wants to replicate that same fire when Ginebra and TNT break the series deadline on Friday.
“I know that I’m one of the leaders of the team and I want to make sure that I get into a strong start, give guys some confidence and work from there,” said Brownlee.
The two teams clash at 5:45 pm at Smart Araneta Coliseum, with Brownlee expected to run through a defense committee, led by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, aimed at slowing him down.
RR Pogoy and Glenn Khobuntin had also been tasked to guard Brownlee in the first two games of the title showdown and may be called upon to resume their defensive roles.
But TNT knows stopping Brownlee is only half the battle, with Ginebra’s local core of Christian Standhardinger, Scottie Thompson and Jamie Malonzo able to pick up the slack when needed.
“They (TNT) flipped the script on us [in Game 2] and it was a total turnaround,” said Cone. “It’s a series and it’s not one game.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.