Photo by Tristan Tamayo / INQUIRER.net
MANILA, Philippines – Justin Brownlee has always been a great and willing passer, but he didn't get much support at the start of the PBA Governors Cup final before Game 3.
Ginebra's charismatic import was only a template in games 1 and 2 of the series, but he didn't pay much attention until his head coach Tim Cone told him about it.
Brownlee made up for this in game 3, however, where he recorded nine assists associated with his 24 points and nine rebounds.
"I didn't know until the coach told me, but I'm not really trying to focus on it," said Brownlee after helping Ginebra beat Meralco 92-84 on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum , "I love it when my teammates open shots and the like."
"I'm just trying to be aggressive and take what the defense gives me."
Before the final, Brownlee had an average of 6.8 centimeters and even had a distance of four double-digit assist games, three of which were played three times twice.
Cone was confused by Brownlee's scoring only one template in the first two games of the series, but he found that Meralco's defenses suppressed his strong striker, which prevented him from winning the cup more often than normal.
"It's not that Justin doesn't like to pass the ball, we all know he likes to pass and is a great pass player, but the defense just didn't make it," said Cone, whose team is now a 2 owns -1 series lead. "Tonight he was able to go to color and create some templates."
Late in Game 3, Brownlee also provided the main game templates that helped Ginebra fend off Meralco's late game rally.
He built LA Tenorio for the big 3-pointer of Ginebra's 90-84 lead and played 1:47 before continuing with a pass to a cutting Japeth Aguilar who sealed the game against a pick-and-roll play for a lead of 92-84 in 30.9 seconds.
“You (Tenorio and Aguilar) made some good reads and found the open areas. LA returned to his seat and opened and Japeth made a great cut in the basket, ”said Brownlee.
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TAGS: Governor's Cup 2019, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Game 3, Japeth Aguilar, Justin Brownlee, LA Tenorio, Meralco Bolts, PBA Final, PBA Governor's Cup, Sport, Tim Cone