Arrival of Brownlee, another ex-PBA import makes Alab ABL favorite
Four-time PBA champion import Justin Brownlee wasted no time getting reacquainted with San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, buckling down to work in practice on Thursday morning, just a few hours after arriving from the United States.
And with Alab also acquiring the Asean Basketball League’s Defensive Player of the Year in former Singapore Slingers import John Fields, a campaign that has been up and down looks poised to finally take off with the arrival of quality reinforcements.
“Their presence is huge for us,” Alab coach Jimmy Alapag told the Inquirer. “More than what they bring to the court, both Justin and John bring experience, leadership and that championship poise to our young team. It’s just a big shot in the arm for us.”
Brownlee’s arrival ended a 10-day saga where the decorated Barangay Ginebra reinforcement kept Alab officials guessing on his status, missing flights from the United States. But in a meeting with Alapag shortly after he planed in from Los Angeles, Brownlee immediately reaffirmed his commitment to leading Alab to another title run just like two years ago when he powered the squad with Renaldo Balkman.
Brownlee, Alapag said, has explained why he missed the last two Alab games against Kuala Lumpur and Saigon.
“He had personal matters to attend to and we respect that,” said Alapag, whose team’s 10-6 record is second best in the league behind Mono Vampire with an 11-5 slate.
“He’s excited to help us,” said Alapag of Brownlee, who led Ginebra to the title in the Governors’ Cup just last month.
Fields’ entry in lieu of 7-foot-5 Sam Deguara came as a surprise.
But as far as Alapag and his staff are concerned, he was looking at the “bigger picture. Sam was a great guy, a good player for us, but we were always exposed defensively on ball screens with him so we brought in John. Fortunately for us, he was available.”
Fields also played in the PBA, serving as import for Magnolia and Columbia Dyip.
“I think we’re better equipped to take on the next stretch of the season in March with John and JB,” Alapag said.