Brgy. Ginebra’s prolific reinforcement and reigning Best Import of the Commissioner’s Cup Justin Brownlee played the entire game of the Gin Kings’ overtime thriller against sister team San Miguel, Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
And the 31-year old, three-time PBA champion didn’t let his team down despite fatigue setting in during the latter stages of the match as he finished with 39 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks and a steal in 53 minutes of action to power the crowd darlings to a 110-107 squeaker against the Charles Rhodes-led Beermen.
“He played 53 minutes and we needed every second he was on the floor to win this game. I almost rested him at the end of the third quarter. But the possession was long. We couldn’t get him out so he can get the rest during the break. But once that didn’t happen, I knew he wasn’t going to be rested anymore,” said Cone shortly after the game.
“Start of overtime, I apologized to him. I said ‘Justin, I’m sorry, I haven’t given you a rest.’ He just smiles and says, ‘That’s okay, coach.’ Like I said, that goes to show how much we wanted this win and how much we needed it,” added the most successful mentor in league history.
And true enough, Brownlee didn’t mind playing extended minutes as long as the team ends up with a win.
“I was okay with it. I got a couple of times that I got tired, had a couple of cramps, too. But those types of games, you just want to stay in there and fight through whatever is going on. If you are tired, fatigued, any kind of pain, you just have to fight through it, specially at that kind of game.”