“No, not at all,” the 6-foot-5 Brownlee said when asked if he was surprised that coach Tim Cone didn’t give him a breather in the second half of a tight 85-74 victory on Sunday before 36,455 fans at Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
“I just have to be prepared,” Cone went on, before someone asked if he was ready to go the full 48 minutes—at least—in Game 6 where the Kings can sew up a repeat. “I’m ready to do whatever it takes for us to win a championship.”
Brownlee played 46 total minutes in Game 5 and struggled throughout with the Meralco defense focusing on him hard.
But he delivered when needed by helping in the other aspects in the stretch, as he still finished with 20 points that went with 12 rebounds and five assists. Brownlee also had a night-high three steals—equaling the entire Meralco total—which resulted in a Greg Slaughter bucket that made it 81-70 going into the final 4:30.
“Our job’s not done yet,” Brownlee said.
Slaughter was the other big performer for Cone and showed why he is the Best Player of the Conference, finishing with 17 points, 16 rebounds and six swats.
Meralco had only five blocks for the night.
“I am looking forward to playing in a bigger game,” Slaughter said of Game 6, which will also be at Philippine Arena. “Whoever comes out hungrier for that game will get that game.”
Meralco trailed by as many as 18 in the first half before coming back hard in the third period to lead a couple of times. But, like in Game 2, the Bolts suffered a power outage in the most critical time of the game, making just two Allen Durham free throws in a five-minute span.
Durham has also been working double time in trying to keep the Bolts in this series, and whether he’s got more to give for two more games will ultimately determine whether Meralco finally breaks through in the pros.
Ginebra will have the momentum to go for the kill, and Cone has hinted that he will prepare his boys to play just one more game.
“Our mentality right now is we want to play just one more game,” Cone said after Game 5 of the best-of-seven series.