Barangay Ginebra import Justin Brownlee didn't really envision seeing San Miguel or Magnolia early in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup playoffs.
Ginebra's potential opponents currently hold identical 5-5 cards in the standings, with each having one game left. The fourth-seeded Kings will draw Magnolia in the quarterfinals if it finishes with the same record as San Miguel, but it's going to be a clash against SMB if the Hotshots lose against TNT and if the Beermen beat Meralco.
"It's not good news. You know, the quarterfinals, usually it may be a slightly lighter opponent, but at this point, it really doesn't matter who we play. You know, it's the playoffs. We gonna have to come out, and if we wanna win, we just [need to] come out and perform at the top of our game," Brownlee said.
Facing one of two heavyweights early isn't exactly an alluring situation for Ginebra, but having a total game-changer in Brownlee could ease some of the pressure brought by a star-studded clash.
Brownlee continued his scoring tear and reset his career-high by going for 50 against Columbian Dyip on Sunday, seven days after dumping 49 on Magnolia in a blowout win. He also added 14 rebounds and five assists and provided the game-clinching bucket in the overtime win to help Ginebra finish the elimination round with a 7-4 slate.
"Didn't seem like he scored that much," coach Tim Cone said after the game. "I didn't feel like he was totally dominating the game tonight, not like against Magnolia where he was just the dominant guy out there. It's really interesting because you don't know how many points Justin is piling up. He does it in such a quiet way, without fanfare, he's not pounding his chest or doing anything."
"He's just taking care of business, then you look at the stats after the game and you'll go 'Woah, he really did that.' That was one of those games today. I had no idea he had that many points. But it wasn't like he was forcing things. It was all coming natural."
Brownlee said he was "just trying to stay aggressive."
"I guess I'm still in a good rhythm from last game, so I'm just trying to keep it going. Just wanted to come out here and play hard," he added.
Ginebra is on a hot streak, but the Kings know it won't be walk in the park in the first round even if Brownlee continues his offensive assault.
"We know both teams are championship caliber teams, have great experience. Both teams have really good imports. San Miguel, they have a new import, Chris McCullough. He's been wonderful for that team, so either team, we know we're gonna have a dogfight with either team," Brownlee said.
"We have to bring our A-plus performance each and every game. So it really doesn't matter. You know, we know that whoever we play, we're gonna have to come in and give it our all if we want to win."