BOCAUE—It’s been said that winning Game 7s boils down to sheer attitude and that rang true for Barangay Ginebra and Justin Brownlee.
With a record 54,086 fans shouting and jeering at every conceivable moment, the Gin Kings managed to shout the loudest of shouts at Philippine Arena when they survived Meralco, 101-96, in the clincher to retain the PBA Governors’ Cup crown.
And in the middle of it all was Brownlee who once again led the Gin Kings in their quest for a title.
“It just shows the character of the team, coach Tim [Cone] told us to just win the game,” said Brownlee. “We knew we had to do whatever it took, we made a couple of stops to seal the deal.”
And those happened in the final minute of the game when Brownlee and Ginebra finally realized that their title hopes were put in danger.
Ginebra held a respectable 11-point lead, 100-89, with 1:39 left in the game after Joe DeVance converted on a mid-range jumper.
That lead, however, immediately turned to fool’s gold when the Bolts came in like an uncontrollable power line.
The Bolts went on a 7-0 blitz with Jared Dillinger capping it off with a booming triple with 47 seconds left that left a crowd nearly 50,000 Ginebra fans stunned.
“Man, to be honest, I got a little nervous, but the team stayed together, focused, and we were able to make key stops at the end to win,” said Brownlee who finished with 23 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and three blocks.
It was in those remaining 47 ticks, though, that Ginebra showed the character Brownlee spoke of.
Ginebra managed to get the ball to LA Tenorio for an open triple, and although it missed, the point guard got the ball once more after Japeth Aguilar’s rebound and got to the line for two free throws.
Tenorio, though, missed the free throws and it went down to the Gin Kings’ guts to stop the Bolts on the other end.
And when Kevin Ferrer grabbed possession of the ball after Anjo Caram’s faulty triple, joy finally took over the stressed out Brownlee.
“It was just a lot of joy, and you know it was all the hard work of the team, not only me, the team put incredible work to get to this point,” said Brownlee. “Everybody on the team deserves this moment.”