Nick Rakocevic is proving to be among the best-performing imports in town right now. But Justin Brownlee is still Justin Brownlee – capable of taking over a game when he needs to.
Brownlee did just that Sunday night, and Barangay Ginebra pulled one over archrival Magnolia for the first time in a long while, coming from behind to score a 103-97 decision at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
The Ginebra champion import came through with 26 points and 12 rebounds, and more importantly struck with the dagger plays at endgame as the Kings went over the .500 mark again with a third win against two losses.
Brownlee broke the 97-all deadlock with a jumper, blocked a shot by Rakocevic then sealed the win with two free throws off the Hotshots import with 21.2 ticks left.
Jamie Malonzo had his own double-double game with 18 markers and 14 boards and Scottie Thompson (14), Christian Standhardinger (14) and Japeth Aguilar (13) had their significant help for the Kings who played catch-up basketball most of the way but came alive in the fourth to steal the game from the previously unbeaten Hotshots.
With the loss, Magnolia (5-1) dropped to second place behind new PBA Commissioner’s Cup elims frontrunner Bay Area Dragons (6-1).
“I think we came out a little tight and we’re getting frustrated, but we needed just one big run, and it was reminiscent of the Ginebra runs in the 90s,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.