Barangay Ginebra came oh-so-close at a key victory that would’ve put the crowd darling up 2-zip in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday.
But Justin Brownlee wasn’t in the mood to sulk. The resident import knows all too well there aren’t many ways to frame a loss at the buzzer.
“It was just one of those games. Tough game,” he told reporters on the heels of Ginebra’s 96-95 loss to Magnolia at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
“You got to give a lot of credit to Magnolia. We made some runs but they made some runs back at us. Just a tough game all around. Paul Lee. The ball. You know, sometimes the basketball gods are just on your side.”
With Ginebra up 95-94 in crunch time, Lee made the most out of the frantic five seconds: He picked up his own errant pass and then hit a short stab to win the game, ultimately leveling their final four series with their corporate sibling.
“You just got to give a lot of credit to Paul,” said Brownlee. “The ball bounced to him and he is a very clutch player. He just made a clutch play, made that shot, and gave them the win.”
PAUL LEE. CARDIAC. FTW!
— PBA (@pbaconnect) December 16, 2022
Magnolia not only knotted their best-of-five series with Ginebra to a game apiece, but also laid waste to Brownlee’s return to form.
It could be recalled the American import just had 11 points built on seven attempts during the series opener. He went on to redeem himself in the losing stand with 34 points and five assists.
“I understand I got to be aggressive, of course, as an import in this league, been here for a while. So I understand that. I had seven attempts last game, so with [those] attempts, there’s only so much you can score. So I just knew I just had to come out aggressive and get those attempts, get my team going as well,” he said.
Brownlee said that Ginebra is expecting to win on Sunday when the two clubs dispute control of the series. But to do that, the decorated reinforcement offered some points the Gin Kings should take a look at moving forward.
“Taking care of the ball,” he said. “I’m not sure how many turnovers we had but I know we did have some key turnovers,” he said. “We just have to keep dealing with their pressure better.
“[Magnolia is] a great defensive team. I think when the pressure gets going, I think we can execute better. I think that’s one thing that kind of hurt us—they picked up their pressure at certain points of the game and it kind of hurt us,” he added.
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