Brgy. Ginebra coach Tim Cone revealed something shortly after the Gin Kings zoomed to their 4th straight victory via 101-93 dismantling of Blackwater, Wednesday night in the 2019 PBA Governors Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Cone admitted that he almost tapped Marqus Blakely, who is currently the Elite’s import, to play for Brgy. Ginebra during the 2016 edition of the same conference but couldn’t get clearance from the Magnolia Hotshots, then under the name Star.
After failing to secure his release, the Gin Kings enlisted Paul Harris who suffered an injury right on his very first game. An untested Justin Brownlee then came over and the rest is history.
“I would have brought him (Blakely) back for Ginebra honestly, except that we picked up Justin, so once we got Justin, we weren’t going to change him, sorry Marqus, but for no one,” said Cone.
Blakely went on to play for the Hotshots but was unceremoniously replaced by Joel Wright mid-conference. It turned out to be the last stint of the former Best Import awardee with the team he led to back-to-back Governors’ Cup titles in 2013 and 2014.
“We had such great time back in 2014 when we were trying to win that Grand Llam. So it was really an amazing year that 2014 and Marqus was a big part of it. He’s such a terrific player and such a terrific person,” said Cone.
Brownlee has since led the Gin Kings to 3 championships (2016 and 2017 Governors’ Cup, 2018 Commissioner’s Cup) and has been named as Best Import during the team’s last title romp.