IF there is one Meralco Bolt who can’t wait to face Ginebra import Justin Brownlee on the court again, it’s Chris Newsome.
But not for the revenge factor most might think.
Newsome is simply eager to again pit his basketball talent and skills against Brownlee, who had nothing but kind words for the former following their recent PBA Governors Cup finals matchup won by the Kings.
“I had a good time with Justin Brownlee at the end of the game,” recalled Newsome following Ginebra’s 105-93 victory last Friday that enabled the Kings to wrap up the best-of-seven title duel 4-1.
It was the third time in the last four seasons Ginebra had foiled Meralco’s bid to end a championship drought, with Newsome alternating with Bong Quinto in trying to stymie Brownlee. To no avail, of course.
Brownlee chatted briefly with Newsome at the end of the final game and offered words of encouragement to the 2016 Rookie of the Year.
“He was telling me, ‘Man, you’re an incredible player, you’re an incredible guy.’ It’s just unfortunate how things have to end,” related Newsome. “He said, ‘Don’t get discouraged by this because your potential is limitless.’”
Newsome feels extremely grateful that all the effort he has put in in practice and game has been noticed, especially by somebody like Brownlee.
“It shows that my hard work is actually showing, and people actually see me for the work that I put in. Even though I don’t win championships, they still see the hard work and the motivation and the drive… Everything that I do,” said Newsome.
“Hearing that from somebody like Justin Brownlee, it was heartfelt. I took it to heart. He’s such a great player,” added the former Ateneo star.
“He’s probably one of the greatest imports that I’ve ever played against or had to guard. I learned so much just from seeing him and guarding him. For him to tell me something like that meant a lot.”
Brownlee’s words somewhat soothe the pain of yet another finals loss for Newsome and Meralco.
“Three-and-O in the finals, that’s definitely not how I envisioned it. But it happens; it has happened,” said Newsome. “But you got to give credit where credit is due also. Ginebra played a really great series.”
The rematch with Brownlee has to wait, with the new season set to start with the import-less Philippine Cup on March 1.
Newsome’s immediate goal is to help Meralco do well in a conference where it has struggled the most in the recent past. The Bolts have an overall record of 11-33 in the Philippine Cup the last five seasons.
“Right now, the only thing on my mind is try to get an All-Filipino playoff appearance for Meralco. I think that’s the next one because (the) All-Filipino is usually the conference we don’t do so well,” said Newsome. “My target is set on that, try to get Meralco to an All-Filipino playoff.”