Sol Mercado was responsible for getting the ball to Justin Brownlee to set up that epic championship-clinching three-point shot in Game 6 of the 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals. But believe it or not, Mercado says Brownlee didn’t look like he was destined for greatness when he first reported for practice for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel earlier that year.
“The funny story is, in his first practice, we were like, ‘Oh God, we’re in trouble’,” former teammate and now free agent Mercado said with a chuckle in Thursday’s episode of 2OT podcast of Carlo Pamintuan and Magoo Marjon.
Brownlee was tapped to replace Paul Harris, who suffered a hyperextended thumb open structure in their opening victory against GlobalPort, 93-84, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The first impression didn’t last long as Brownlee eventually proved his mettle for the crowd favorites, scattering 31 points to go with 13 rebounds, two steals, and an assist before cramping up in the final stretch of the Gin Kings’ 109-100 loss to Alaska – his first game in the PBA.
Mercado and Brownlee would eventually team up for that conference’s last play, with the veteran guard inbounding the ball to Brownlee late in Game 6 of the finals and the American burying a triple at the buzzer to give Ginebra its first championship in eight years.