Ginebra hopes for Justin Brownlee return; TNT expecting it
Christian Standhardinger was the last person to enter the locker room shortly, looking so exhausted and disappointed as Barangay Ginebra was handed a stunning defeat that was compounded with the loss of the ailing Justin Brownlee.
“We need him. I mean, this is not a secret,” Standhardinger said after the 104-95 loss to TNT on Wednesday that put Ginebra on the brink of ending its run of two straight Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup titles.
The absence of Brownlee, who was down due to food poisoning and no longer saw action in the second half, took its toll on the Gin Kings in the second half as the Tropang Giga mounted a big comeback from 14 down to not only steal the game but take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
It was the first time TNT went ahead in the race to four affair.
Ginebra looked gassed as it tried to erase TNT’s nine-point lead with an all-Filipino lineup. Standhardinger was one of those who made efforts during the fourth period and finished with 29 points that went for naught.How tired the Gin Kings were showed with how they walked upon exiting Smart Araneta Coliseum after Game 5. Standhardinger, meanwhile, needed IV fluids inside the Ginebra dugout, which he said was “nothing out of the ordinary.”
“I think we did a great job of trying to stay in the game,” said Standhardinger as he hopes to see Brownlee return to full strength to keep Ginebra’s title chances alive.
“If we can get him back for the next game, that will help a lot.”
Brownlee is expected to show up for Friday’s Game 6, but it’s anybody’s guess as to what condition he will be in.
TNT coach Jojo Lastimosa, however, believes everyone from both teams will come at full strength after seeing Brownlee play in the first half as if he hadn’t come down with anything.
Brownlee scored 14 points in the first half, which saw Ginebra take a 61-49 lead before he was forced to leave the game.
“I don’t think he’s gonna miss that sixth game, or if there’s a seventh game,” said Lastimosa. “I think he’s gonna play. He’s also a warrior. We’re counting on everyone to be present come Friday.”