While scoring has never been an issue for Justin Brownlee, the Brgy. Ginebra resident import, however, has struggled in handing out assists in the first 2 games of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals against Meralco.
After issuing only 1 in the series opener, the 31-year American laid a big fat zero in Game 2 as the Gin Kings dropped a close one in Lucena City which allowed the Bolts to equalize the best-of-seven series at 1-game apiece.
After being informed by head coach Tim Cone that he had zero assists in Game 2, the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup Best Import awardee made the necessary adjustments and handed out 9 and more importantly led the team to victory to give the Gin Kings back the series lead going into the pivotal Game 4.
“Coach had a talk with me and told me I only had one assist in the past two games and I’ve been averaging about six or seven or something like that. I really wanted to focus on getting guys going, try to get guys open looks and always try to focus on defense,” said Brownlee.
“I was unaware until coach told me. It’s something that I try not to really focus on, stats or getting assists, or things like that. I do love getting my teammates open shots and things like that but I try to be aggressive and take whatever the defense gives to me,” he added.
Cone, however, clarified that Brownlee’s lack of assists in the first two games wasn’t due to his unwillingness to share the ball.
“It’s two-fold. One is that Meralco was keeping us out of rhythm. The ball wasn’t moving like we want to see it move. We weren’t creating assists. We had four assists in the first half in Lucena. And we haven’t done that in years,” explained Cone.
“The other thing is Meralco has done a really good job of not allowing Justin to create by breaking down the defense. They’ve stayed in front of him. They’ve used Allen Durham as the main weapon against him. They are just not giving him much penetration. When you can’t get penetration into the defense, it’s hard to create assists,” added the league’s winning-est mentor.