IF THERE’S one thing that eases the pain of Ginebra’s shock loss to NLEX last Saturday in a PBA Governors Cup game in Dubai, it is Justin Brownlee earning his special niche in the PBA record books.
The Kings blew a couple of 28-point leads and eventually lost 111-113 in overtime, with Brownlee finishing with 42 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists before a boisterous and predominantly pro-Ginebra crowd at the Coca-Cola Arena.
According to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon, it is the first 40-20 triple-double seen in the league, or at least since he took the job in 1996.
Before Brownlee, Phoenix Pulse resident import Eugene Phelps came closest, tallying 37 points, 23 rebounds, and 10 assists in last year’s Commissioner’s Cup.
True to his unassuming form, Brownlee was both surprised and honored when informed of his achievement.
“Really? Wow! Is that true?” was Brownlee’s initial reaction. “It’s a great accomplishment, for sure, to do it in a league like this.
“There have been a lot of great imports who have come in and put up huge numbers. I heard of a hundred-point game, I’ve seen a lot of other triple doubles. It’s just a great honor, to be recognized as a player who did that.
“It’s just very unfortunate we couldn’t get the win. It would have been great, you know, to top it up with a win. But just to be recognized that I’ve done something that’s never been done before is such a great accomplishment.”
Brownlee was tipped to finish with at least 50 points, having scored 33 after the first two quarters alone.
But NLEX, which was supposed to be the tired team after losing a close 94-98 decision to San Miguel Beer less than 24 hours before, was hell-bent on denying Brownlee and the rest of Ginebra a much happier ending.
“I just think we came out strong. They were showing a lot of, not necessarily double team, but I think a lot of help and stuff like that so I was able to find Greg (Slaughter) and a couple of guys to make some plays and get them off my back a bit,” Brownlee said.
The Road Warriors continued their unrelenting pressure and their offense started lighting up after they stared at deficits of 41-69 and 44-72.
There was also the matter of cramps on both legs catching up on Brownlee because of his all-around exertions.
“We knew this team is gonna be aggressive, make it tough for us. And they showed who they really are in the second half,” admitted Brownlee.
“They made tough shots, especially Kiefer (Ravena). Even the long-haired guy (Philip Paniamogan) and Erram. They all played great in the second half and made it tough for us to get stops.
“So I guess you could credit their defense but, you know, I just think we didn’t really play our game like we wanted to in that second half and it definitely showed.”
Brownlee evoked memories of the way he sizzled while playing for Mighty Sports in the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championships last February. But never like his recent showing and e was quick to deflect some of the credit.
“I remember some 20-point games and some 30-point games. I don’t know,” said
Brownlee with a smile. “I do know that every time I’m here though there’s a lot of Filipino fans who come and show great support. I gotta give them credit they give me a lot of energy through their love and support. I’m just feeding off their energy and I just always try and play hard.”