Brownlee, Cone say Ginebra fell victim to Magnolia's game in series opener

Ginebra import Justin Brownlee underscored the importance of defense in the aftermath of a 106-98 loss to Magnolia in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup semifinals opener on Saturday.

Brownlee said things went downhill for the Gin Kings when they started putting premium on scoring and abandoned defense.

"I think we got too dependent on our offense. We didn't focus on our defense anymore," said Brownlee, who still finished with 37 points.

"We got some baskets. I think we just fell in love with our offense 'cause we were scoring so well. But we gotta remember we're a defense-first team and I think that was just the biggest difference after that first quarter."

Ginebra actually had a fiery opening period. Brownlee dropped a whopping 20 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the three-point arc as the Gin Kings scored 39 in the first 12 minutes of action.

But that would be the only bright moment for Ginebra.

Magnolia seized control from the second period onwards after clamping down on defense, forcing Ginebra to turn the ball over possession after another while putting the cuffs on Brownlee who wound up scoreless in the same quarter.

"I think we kind of fell into the trap of playing their game. I think we just gotta get back into playing our game," he said. "But a lot of credit to them, they did an incredible job. They made a tough effort tonight and they've been doing this whole conference."

Ginebra head coach Tim Cone shared a similar sentiment.

"We came out with good force, started the game well but we started to succumb to their pressure as the game progressed. They played the game they wanted to play and we played their game. We gotta be better," said Cone.

Brownlee was not pointing fingers, saying he had a lot to do in the loss that gave their rivals a headstart in the best-of-five series. But he vowed to come out better on Monday when the Gin Kings try to tie the series.

"I think I had too many turnovers. I think I made bad mistakes tonight. Maybe I need to hold aggression back a lil bit. I am gonna just try to still play my game, be aggressive and make better passes for my teammates," he said.

"I'm sure we're gonna make some adjustments and try to come out with a different game plan or try to execute our game plan better, should I say. But just look forward to it. It's a challenge for us losing Game 1 and try to see how we can bounce back."