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Temp to Champ: Justin Brownlee s Magical PBA journey with Ginebra

(This story was originally published on January 31, 2020) With Barangay Ginebra's recent title win in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup, Justin Brownlee is now a four-time champion. In just under four years, Brownlee has completely captivated Ginebra and its legion of fans. Brownlee's influence extends beyond the barangay, one can only hear the continuous calls for him to become Gilas Pilipinas' naturalized player as proof of his influence. He is well-loved not just because of his on-court ability but more so because he is genuinely a good human being. But for all of Brownlee's brilliance in the PBA, everything almost never actually happened. He wasn't even supposed to stay here, let alone come.   THE TNT CONNECTION In 2011, Paul Harris came to the PBA and won the Commissioner's Cup title with the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters. They beat Barangay Ginebra in the Finals after six games. Also in 2011, Harris was playing in the NBA D-League for the Maine Red Claws and one of his teammates was Justin Brownlee. The link has been established long before the Gin Kings cashed in. "To be honest, very ironically, the only person who ever told me about the Philippines was Paul," Brownlee told ABS-CBN Sports. "After he played with Talk 'N Text, we played together in the NBA D-League and I knew Paul before but I really met him when we played in the D-League. He had a lot to say about the Philippines and the way they loved basketball and the way he just won a championship," he added. After his 2011 championship, Harris would come back for a couple more stints with the Tropang Texters. But in 2016 for the Governors’ Cup, Harris would switch teams. Five years after taking them down for the Commissioner’s Cup title, the former Syracuse forward was now suiting up for Barangay Ginebra. Unfortunately, Harris’ Ginebra tenure lasted only one game after he injured his thumb at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Gin Kings were now scrambling and Ginebra had to make a call for a replacement. It was Justin Brownlee that answered. The rest is history. "He told me if you ever have a chance to play in the Philippines, you should really take it," Brownlee said of Harris' advice. "It was my first opportunity for Ginebra so I took it. It's just crazy, because it was for him being injured [that I got a call],' Brownlee added.   3 AND D As a 22-time PBA champion, coach Tim Cone has an eye on players that can do well in the Philippines. Coach Tim knew that Justin Brownlee would have success in the PBA the moment he laid his eyes on him. "I remember scouting him in the NBA Summer League and thought, 'Wow, that guy would really do well in the Philippines,'" Cone said of Brownlee. "But he was a little bit more one-dimensional back then. He was more of a just a 3-and-D guy, he was a stretch four, shot a lot of three-points. He proved he could play bigger guys and play against bigger guys even though he was only 6'5". Those kind of guys usually do well here," the champion mentor added. From the time Brownlee first entered the PBA as Paul Harris' replacement as Ginebra import in the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup to now, Cone was proven right. Brownlee turned out to be quite successful in the PBA. With more championships than playoff series lost, he shows no signs of slowing down. About four years in, teams still can't check Brownlee and there's a reason for that according to Cone. "The thing about Justin that impressed me is that while he's been here, his game has improved so tremendously," Coach Tim said. “I was talking to my son who lives in San Francisco. And we were talking about, you know how great Justin is and how hard it is to defend them and how happy I am that he's on my team. I would hate to have to try to guard him on the other side.” "Reminds me a lot actually a Bobby Parks, you know, when I was trying to figure out ways to guard Bobby Parks. Just could not find ways. He always would find a way to beat you and that's exactly what Justin does," Cone added, pretty much giving Brownlee one of the ultimate seals of approval for a PBA import.   WRONG LEAGUE Justin Brownlee could have been a star anywhere else in the world. He was already in the NBA D-League, he could have gotten an actual shot in the NBA if he stayed long enough for what it's worth. But he found himself in the PBA with Barangay Ginebra. The Gin Kings certainly hit the jackpot with him and they're not letting Brownlee go. "The one thing my son said, he said, 'Sorry, dad. But you know, Justin's in the wrong League. He shouldn't be in the PBA. He should be in the NBA, playing as a star somewhere, if he had  been given a chance,'" Coach Tim recalled about a conversation he had with his own son about Brownlee. "He's an NBA-caliber guy. I don't think there's any doubt. He'll be back next year and I think he'll be better even next year than he was this year," Cone added. Brownlee could have been a star anywhere else but the Philippines has become a second home for Brownlee. He will remain a Gin King as long as the barangay wants him to stay. “It’s just the mentality, to be honest. It starts with the ‘Never Say Die’ mentality. Just seeing how the people can come together and motivate other people to do something positive. All the way from the boss, to Coach Tim, to each player, it’s all about coming together,” Brownlee said on what allures him to Barangay Ginebra. “Thet [first] championship was great of course, but for me to come back, it was more so the culture. How the people treated basketball here and the relationship I started building with my teammates, and Coach Tim and the whole management. Over the championship, those are the things I love most, the real reason why I came back. Even if we never won, if I was asked to come back, I would come back in a hurry,” Justin added.   TEMP TO CHAMP Justin Brownlee most definitely made a name for himself in the Philippines with four Finals appearances, four PBA championships, one Best Import award, most three-pointers ever made by an import, and “The Shot.” For a replacement import, that's not too bad. Brownlee's legacy here is set, when he comes back for more, he’s just going to continue to make his case as the PBA’s GOAT import. But for all of Brownlee's brilliance in the PBA, everything almost never actually happened. He wasn't even supposed to stay here, let alone come. “My contract was only for one month,” Brownlee told ABS-CBN Sports on his first stint with Ginebra all the way back from the 2016 Governors’ Cup. “I didn’t know the full details of Paul’s injury at the time. I just remember they [Ginebra] wanted me another month, and it just turned into the rest of the conference. “ “It wasn’t even to stay for the whole conference [first contract]. It was very unfortunate that Paul got hurt but the opportunity presented itself to me and I tried to just take advantage of it the most I can,” Brownlee added. He took advantage indeed.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnMay 23rd, 2020

Temp to Champ: Justin Brownlee s Magical PBA journey with Ginebra

(This story was originally published on January 31, 2020) With Barangay Ginebra's recent title win in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup, Justin Brownlee is now a four-time champion. In just under four years, Brownlee has completely captivated Ginebra and its legion of fans. Brownlee's influence extends beyond the barangay, one can only hear the continuous calls for him to become Gilas Pilipinas' naturalized player as proof of his influence. He is well-loved not just because of his on-court ability but more so because he is genuinely a good human being. But for all of Brownlee's brilliance in the PBA, everything almost never actually happened. He wasn't even supposed to stay here, let alone come.   THE TNT CONNECTION In 2011, Paul Harris came to the PBA and won the Commissioner's Cup title with the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters. They beat Barangay Ginebra in the Finals after six games. Also in 2011, Harris was playing in the NBA D-League for the Maine Red Claws and one of his teammates was Justin Brownlee. The link has been established long before the Gin Kings cashed in. "To be honest, very ironically, the only person who ever told me about the Philippines was Paul," Brownlee told ABS-CBN Sports. "After he played with Talk 'N Text, we played together in the NBA D-League and I knew Paul before but I really met him when we played in the D-League. He had a lot to say about the Philippines and the way they loved basketball and the way he just won a championship," he added. After his 2011 championship, Harris would come back for a couple more stints with the Tropang Texters. But in 2016 for the Governors’ Cup, Harris would switch teams. Five years after taking them down for the Commissioner’s Cup title, the former Syracuse forward was now suiting up for Barangay Ginebra. Unfortunately, Harris’ Ginebra tenure lasted only one game after he injured his thumb at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Gin Kings were now scrambling and Ginebra had to make a call for a replacement. It was Justin Brownlee that answered. The rest is history. "He told me if you ever have a chance to play in the Philippines, you should really take it," Brownlee said of Harris' advice. "It was my first opportunity for Ginebra so I took it. It's just crazy, because it was for him being injured [that I got a call],' Brownlee added.   3 AND D As a 22-time PBA champion, coach Tim Cone has an eye on players that can do well in the Philippines. Coach Tim knew that Justin Brownlee would have success in the PBA the moment he laid his eyes on him. "I remember scouting him in the NBA Summer League and thought, 'Wow, that guy would really do well in the Philippines,'" Cone said of Brownlee. "But he was a little bit more one-dimensional back then. He was more of a just a 3-and-D guy, he was a stretch four, shot a lot of three-points. He proved he could play bigger guys and play against bigger guys even though he was only 6'5". Those kind of guys usually do well here," the champion mentor added. From the time Brownlee first entered the PBA as Paul Harris' replacement as Ginebra import in the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup to now, Cone was proven right. Brownlee turned out to be quite successful in the PBA. With more championships than playoff series lost, he shows no signs of slowing down. About four years in, teams still can't check Brownlee and there's a reason for that according to Cone. "The thing about Justin that impressed me is that while he's been here, his game has improved so tremendously," Coach Tim said. “I was talking to my son who lives in San Francisco. And we were talking about, you know how great Justin is and how hard it is to defend them and how happy I am that he's on my team. I would hate to have to try to guard him on the other side.” "Reminds me a lot actually a Bobby Parks, you know, when I was trying to figure out ways to guard Bobby Parks. Just could not find ways. He always would find a way to beat you and that's exactly what Justin does," Cone added, pretty much giving Brownlee one of the ultimate seals of approval for a PBA import.   WRONG LEAGUE Justin Brownlee could have been a star anywhere else in the world. He was already in the NBA D-League, he could have gotten an actual shot in the NBA if he stayed long enough for what it's worth. But he found himself in the PBA with Barangay Ginebra. The Gin Kings certainly hit the jackpot with him and they're not letting Brownlee go. "The one thing my son said, he said, 'Sorry, dad. But you know, Justin's in the wrong League. He shouldn't be in the PBA. He should be in the NBA, playing as a star somewhere, if he had  been given a chance,'" Coach Tim recalled about a conversation he had with his own son about Brownlee. "He's an NBA-caliber guy. I don't think there's any doubt. He'll be back next year and I think he'll be better even next year than he was this year," Cone added. Brownlee could have been a star anywhere else but the Philippines has become a second home for Brownlee. He will remain a Gin King as long as the barangay wants him to stay. “It’s just the mentality, to be honest. It starts with the ‘Never Say Die’ mentality. Just seeing how the people can come together and motivate other people to do something positive. All the way from the boss, to Coach Tim, to each player, it’s all about coming together,” Brownlee said on what allures him to Barangay Ginebra. “Thet [first] championship was great of course, but for me to come back, it was more so the culture. How the people treated basketball here and the relationship I started building with my teammates, and Coach Tim and the whole management. Over the championship, those are the things I love most, the real reason why I came back. Even if we never won, if I was asked to come back, I would come back in a hurry,” Justin added.   TEMP TO CHAMP Justin Brownlee most definitely made a name for himself in the Philippines with four Finals appearances, four PBA championships, one Best Import award, most three-pointers ever made by an import, and “The Shot.” For a replacement import, that's not too bad. Brownlee's legacy here is set, when he comes back for more, he’s just going to continue to make his case as the PBA’s GOAT import. But for all of Brownlee's brilliance in the PBA, everything almost never actually happened. He wasn't even supposed to stay here, let alone come. “My contract was only for one month,” Brownlee told ABS-CBN Sports on his first stint with Ginebra all the way back from the 2016 Governors’ Cup. “I didn’t know the full details of Paul’s injury at the time. I just remember they [Ginebra] wanted me another month, and it just turned into the rest of the conference. “ “It wasn’t even to stay for the whole conference [first contract]. It was very unfortunate that Paul got hurt but the opportunity presented itself to me and I tried to just take advantage of it the most I can,” Brownlee added. He took advantage indeed.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 23rd, 2020

Sneaker Stories: Justin Brownlee likes to keep it fresh

It’s gotta be the shoes. Sneakers are all the craze these days, everyone’s after them whether you’re an actual sneakerhead or just in it for the business of it. Since footwear is pretty big on basketball, basketball folks are naturally the source of some heat. After all, your expensive Js were originally made so you can play basketball in them. In this short series, this writer gets in on the Sneaker Stories of some of our favorite PBA personalities. Ginebra’s resident import, the fan-favorite Justin Brownlee, is the first in line.   The Magazine Some years ago, when everything couldn’t be found and bought on the internet, a popular way to browse and pick up shoes was via Eastbay magazine. Eastbay is a retailer in the US and it had a monthly subscription service with all the shoes it had on stock. It was a sneaker catalogue, pretty much. Brownlee had those magazines, and he would take note of all his favorites. Back then, he couldn’t exactly afford to get every release. “When I was younger, unfortunately I couldn’t afford some of the higher end shoes. There used to be this book called Eastbay… the magazine. I used to look at that magazine, look at every shoe and pick out my favorites on each page and just dream to have them one day,” Brownlee told this writer. “I was always into them. Fortunately, as I got older I started buying more and more shoes, I just always love them,” he added. Brownlee is an OG, he got his shoes and used them to play basketball. As a basketball player growing up, Michael Jordan inspired Brownlee’s hoops journey and just naturally gravitated towards the shoes that had His Airness’ liking. Later, the Black Mamba influenced Brownlee and some Kobe Bryant’s shoes became a staple for him too. “It was mostly because of the basketball,” Brownlee said on his love for sneakers. “The Jordans, of course for Michael Jordan, he’s a big inspiration. For every basketball player in the world, he probably inspired them in some kind of way. Kobe is another favorite,” he added.   The List On the basketball court, Brownlee is as clutch as a PBA import could get. His Ginebra teams have gone to four PBA Finals and won four championships. Arguably the best basket in the league’s last decade was courtesy of Brownlee, hitting his own version of “The Shot” to win the 2016 Governors’ Cup Finals. But in a rare instance of struggle, Brownlee took a while before naming his five most favorite shoes. He just loves sneakers it’s hard to narrow it down to five. “Top-5 sneakers? That’s a tough one. The colorways would be so hard, but I’m gonna do the Jordan 1s, the Jordan 11s, Nike Air Force 1. Those are like the casual shoes, right?” he said. “And then if you go over to the basketball shoes, it’s a tough one too… wow. Man, I would come back with the Jordans but I’ll have to say the Kobe… what number was that? Was it the high tops, the one that looked like the boxing shoes [Kobe 9s]? I used to love those. The Kobe 8 and 9 I really liked,” Brownlee added. As a lover of sneakers, Brownlee’s choices might change in time. He’ll have his classics and he’ll continue to pick up all the latest releases. That’s just how it goes. JB is a sneakerhead through and through. “Yeah, I like shoes,” he said. “There’s nothing like a fresh pair of shoes, man,” Brownlee added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8   (Note: Interview was done before Kobe Bryant's accident).....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 3rd, 2020

PBA: 25 years ago, another magical shot for Ginebra

When the three-point shot of import Justin Brownlee swished in to power Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to the PBA Governors’ Cup title and end an eight-year championship drought, basketball historians recalled another ‘storybook’ ending 2.....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsOct 21st, 2016

Kings are Kings sans Brownlee

Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone is glad to see the Gin Kings’ locals come out of the big shadow of their super-import Justin Brownlee......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 14th, 2020

Bolts seek payback vs Gin Kings in semis

Can Barangay Ginebra beat the Meralco Bolts in a playoff series without import Justin Brownlee?.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsNov 17th, 2020

Black believes Ginebra’s Brownlee can break his record

          By JONAS TERRADO   Meralco coach Norman Black believes that Justin Brownlee and Allen Durham are capable of joining him as the only imports to reach the PBA’s 10,000-point club. Black expressed gratitude after being informed of the 32nd anniversary of the feat he did as a playing of San […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsOct 24th, 2020

GILAS: 'Stretch 4' an ideal replacement for Blatche says coach Chot

Andray Blatche is not getting any younger, and looking at the current Gilas Pilipinas calendar, it seems like the national team is more than ready to move on from him as the no. 1 naturalized player. Which begs the million-dollar question though: Who should replace Andray Blatche on Gilas Pilipinas? There are some names, the more popular ones now are Ginebra resident import Justin Brownlee and former PBA champion with San Miguel Chris McCullough. Getting a naturalized player is not as simple as it sounds. Brownlee has been a favorite for the longest time and yet it appears his naturalization process hasn't moved forward in the slightest. It might be a difficult venture to replace Blatche but when Gilas is ready to go, the national team should prioritize one type of player according to former coach Chot Reyes. "We need a tall guy who can also play outside," Reyes said on Coaches Unfiltered. "That's the way we give other teams problems, if our big man can also be a stretch 4-5 then that's the perfect type of player," he added. While a dual-threat big man is the ideal option, the development of our young prospects gives Gilas room to get creative. If the future national team is bannered by skilled seven-footers like Kai Sotto and AJ Edu, another big man might prove to be redundant. Adding a versatile wing piece could be better in that future scenario.  "If Kai and AJ Edu develop as we think they should, then maybe we can look at somebody that is more skillful," Reyes said. "More all-around wingman type that can play also play guard, forward, and shoot the three," he added. Thinking about the ideal naturalized player for Gilas Pilipinas sure is exciting, but the process of getting one on board entails a lot of realities the program must face. For one, Gilas must find a good and young enough player that is not already-affliated with a different national team. Said player must be willing to play for the Philippines too. "There just one very important thing. If that player is really good, chances are he's going to play for his [own] country or he's already play in the national team. Andray Blatche was really a one-in-a-million situation for us," Reyes said. "If we have a 7-footer out there that's pretty young, and he has to be willing to give up his citizenship. Well, not really his citizenship, but if he plays for the Philippine national team, he cannot play anywhere else. It's a difficult proposition. It entails a lot of planning and forward looking," coach Chot added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2020

PB(A)BL: Christian Standhardinger adds to own hype with Hong Kong stop

Not all players take the same route going to the PBA, each player will have his own story to tell. This series will be about those who chose a different path, those who had to hustle overseas at one point in their careers before eventually landing in the PBA. Here, we take a look at current big-name PBA players who spent some time in the other major basketball league with Philippine teams in the region: the Asean Basketball League. They don’t have to play for a Filipino team, after all, the ABL is a great place where Filipino talents can shine even while playing for other countries. [Related: PB(A)BL: Like a Dragon, Matthew Wright brought fire in Malaysia's dream season] The penultimate entry to the series is about Christian Standhardinger and impressive season with Hong Kong Eastern.   Stop and Go Christian Standhardinger became one of the busiest basketball players in the region by the time he travelled to Manila in mid-2017 following his call-up to Gilas Pilipinas. The Fil-German forward became the national team’s de facto naturalized player during that year’s Jones Cup, FIBA-Asia Cup, and SEA Games. After Gilas was removed from medal contention in the FIBA-Asia Cup in Lebanon, Standhardinger left to join the SEA Games team in Kuala Lumpur. In between, Standhardinger found the time to sign with the ABL’s Hong Kong Eastern and make himself available for the PBA Draft (more on that later). Standhardinger officially debuted for Hong Kong Eastern on November 19 2017, scoring 26 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in a win against Alab Pilipinas. Hong Kong entered the 2017-2018 season as defending champions and with Standhardinger, the team obviously targeted back-to-back titles. Unfortunately, HK couldn’t keep its success against Alab. Despite taking home-court advantage, Hong Kong got swept in the semifinals by the Philippine team led by Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman. Alab would go on to win the championship, beating Mono Vampire in five games. Standhardinger played a total of 22 games in his lone ABL season for Hong Kong, shooting 50 percent from the field for 22.5 points per game on top of 11.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals. He had his most productive outing in Thailand, posting 40 points, 17 rebounds, three assists, and five steals in a Hong Kong win over Mono Vampire.   Gilas to ABL to PBA Christian Standhardinger officially made his Gilas debut in July 2017 in the Jones Cup and would eventually help the team to a fourth-place finish. Exactly one month after his Gilas debut, it was reported that he would suit up for Hong Kong Eastern. In early September, Standhardinger declared for the PBA Draft and was taken first overall by the Beermen on October 29, 2017. The Draft became infamous as San Miguel made a deal with Kia to acquire the number 1 pick. The deal, approved by then PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa, caused enough controversy that the PBA Board actually separated into two separate factions. The deal also paved the way for Narvasa’s resignation and Willie Marcial stepping in to become the new PBA Commissioner. But back to Standhardinger, CS didn’t immediately join the Beermen as less than a month after the PBA Draft, the ABL season would start. After months of anticipation, Standhardinger finally debuted for San Miguel in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup but the Beermen failed to defend their mid-season title, losing to Ginebra in the Finals. Despite a rocky stint with San Miguel, CS would win two championships with the team in the 2019 season. But even as the Beermen went through all that trouble to acquire the rights to pick him first, Standhardinger only lasted four full conferences with the team. Standhardinger’s trade away from San Miguel made big news late in 2019, but the move pretty much “freed” the hard-working forward. With Northport Standhardinger led the Batang Pier to the Governors’ Cup semifinals, having a better finish than San Miguel. CS also won his first-ever Best Player of the Conference award after an incredible breakout performance for his new team.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 8th, 2020

LIST EM: Modern PBA Commissioner s Cup Best Imports

The PBA going back to a three-conference format in the 2011 season meant the return of the Commissioner's Cup and the Governors' Cup. For the first time since 2002, the two conferences returned, paving the way for a number of memorable imports to enter the league as a result. For this latest entry of List 'Em, we focus on the imports that came to play in the Commissioner's Cup. The best ones actually. The PBA typically allows teams to employ imports with a 6'10" height limit for the mid-season joust, but Best Import winners in this conference have come in all shapes and sizes. Let's go through each and every one of them.   2011 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Nate Brumfield, Ginebra < In 2011, Ginebra's Nate Brumfield got the honor of being the first Commissioner's Cup Best Import since Talk 'N Text's Jerald Honeycutt in 2002. Ironically, Brumfield beat a TNT import for the award, outlasting Paul Harris for the win. Brumfield had the Gin Kings in the Finals of the Commissioner's Cup, losing in six games to Harris and the Tropang Texters. 2012 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Denzel Bowles, B-Meg Derby Ace Denzel Bowles winning Best Import in 2012 gets lost in the mix because he actually did greater things during his first time playing in the PBA. With B-Meg trailing by two in Game 7 of the Finals against defending champion Talk 'N Text, Bowles went to the line with 1.2 seconds to go for a chance to tie. He calmly made both to force OT. In extra time, Bowles led the Llamados to the championship, sealing his place in league history with one of the most clutch plays ever. 2013 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Robert Dozier, Alaska Rob Dozier fit right in with the Aces in the 2013 Commissioner's Cup and Alaska went on a tear, finishing as the no. 1 seed with a two-game lead from second place. Dozier was a beast on both ends, proving to be sturdy foundation to Alaska's impressive playoff run. The Aces only lost once in the playoffs, securing the title with a Finals sweep of Barangay Ginebra. 2014 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Richard Howell, Talk 'N Text There was really no doubt on who was the Best Import in the 2014 Commissioner's Cup. Richard Howell put up monster numbers and led the Tropang Texters to an undefeated streak through the semifinals. Unfortunately, Howell's Talk 'N Text became the third victim during San Mig Coffee's Grand Slam run. 2015 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Wayne Chism, Rain or Shine Rain or Shine sure aced its import choices in the early 2010s with Wayne Chism becoming the third Best Import winner for the Elasto Painters since 2011. Chism's versatility allowed ROS to make it to the Commissioner's Finals against Tropang Texters. In Game 7, Chism and the Elasto Painters finally surrendered the title after two overtimes. 2016 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Arinze Onuaku, Meralco Meralco's ascent as a contender in import conferences started in 2016 when the Bolts brought a dominating presence in Arinze Onuaku. Onuaku powered his way to a Best Import win and had Meralco on the verge of its first-ever Finals appearance. Alaska put a stop to those plans as the Aces took out Meralco in the semifinals. 2017 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Charles Rhodes, San Miguel The Beermen finally got an import to stay in the passionate Charles Rhodes. Rhodes delivered a first performance to remember, taking out longtime rival Ricard Ratliffe and the Star Hotshots in the semis before outlasting TNT in the Finals. San Miguel ended a near two-decade title drought in the Commissioner's Cup with Rhodes as Best Import. 2018 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Justin Brownlee, Ginebra Justin Brownlee's lone Best Import win came in the Commissioner's Cup, not even his original conference. Wearing throwback inspired jerseys, Brownlee had the Gin Kings in the Finals to challenge defending champion San Miguel Beer and old pal Renaldo Balkman. Ginebra got its third title with JB with a six-game decision over the Beermen. 2019 Commissioner's Cup Best Import: Terrence Jones, TNT Terrence Jones took the PBA by storm last year and led the TNT juggernaut all the way to the Finals. In the semifinals, Jones and the KaTropa handed Brownlee his second-ever series loss in the league and effectively ended a two-way race for Best Import. However, the former Houston Rocket was grounded in the Finals, with San Miguel Beer frustrating the top-ranked KaTropa to win the title after six games.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 7th, 2020

PBA Best Imports: Allen Durham, Hulking Thoroughbred

Local players are not the only ones that have become stars over the years in the Philippine Basketball Association. Foreign players reinforcing teams, or those they call imports, can be just as beloved. An import playing in the PBA is expected to deliver big numbers; however, production is not the only criteria that makes one successful in basketball on this side of the world. Winning, charisma, and actual love for the PBA and its fans also heavily go into it. The Best Imports will be recognized in name, but the truly great ones that have made their mark here are more than just one-hit wonders. In this series, we take a look at some of the reinforcements who have truly made a home in the PBA. Let’s continue with the electrifying Best Import, Allen Durham.   Thoroughbred Allen Durham’s PBA career actually started in 2014 with Barako Bull, but he found his true home with the Meralco Bolts. Upon returning to the league for the 2016 Governors’ Cup, Meralco head coach Norman Black described the hulking Durham as a thoroughbred. He was right. Norman Black is not just one of the best coaches in the PBA, he’s also one of the best imports in league history. He knows a great import when he sees one so of course he was right about AD. In Durham’s first full conference in the PBA, he led the Bolts to their first-ever Finals appearance. Meralco took down an upstart Mahindra team and the 10-1 TNT KaTropa on its way to the championship round. If not for a certain shot by another Best Import to be featured in this series, the Bolts would most likely have a championship already. In Durham’s first full conference in the PBA, he averaged a strong 29.4 points, 15.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.1 blocks when he won his first Best Import trophy.   Best Import x3 It’s quite unfortunate for an import like Durham to not have a championship after multiple stints in the PBA. He just keeps running into Justin Brownlee’s Barangay Ginebra. In four seasons with Meralco, Durham had the Bolts to three Governors’ Cup Finals, each time losing to Brownlee and the Gin Kings. The only time Meralco didn’t reach the Finals with Durham, the Bolts survived six straight knockout games to set up a semifinals series against Best Import Mike Harris and the Alaska Aces.  Save for the Finals defeats at the hands of Ginebra, Meralco’s winning culture is mostly thanks to Durham. The Bolts repeatedly falter in the All-Filipino, but they’re a top-4 team whenever Durham suits up. AD also consistently puts up monster numbers, that and the impact to Meralco’s wins make him an obvious choice for Best Import each and every season. Durham has won the award three times in the Governors’ Cup for the years 2016, 2017, and 2019. Durham is second in the all-time list and only Bobby Parks Sr. has more Best Import wins than him at seven. After his first Best Import win in the Governors’ Cup in 2016, Durham came back stronger in 2017, leading Meralco to the no. 1 seed and to Game 7 of the Finals in front of a record crowd at the Philippine Arena. In between, AD averaged an incredible 25.4 points, 20.06 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.3 blocks to win a second Best Import plum. Durham is also the most recent winner of the Best Import award in the PBA, averaging 29.8 points, 15.4 rebounds, and 6.7 assists in the 2019 Governors’ Cup. Just like in previous years, AD beat Brownlee for Best Import but it was the Gin Kings that took the title. Durham is still pretty dead set on winning a PBA title, whether he returns to Meralco or any other team in the future remains to be seen. Regardless, Allen Durham is a true PBA Best Import, his name already sealed in history. Best Import, Allen Durham: - Five PBA conferences for Barako Bull and Meralco - 3-time Best Import - Second all-time for most Best Import wins behind Bobby Parks Sr.     — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 4th, 2020

LIST EM: All of the PBA Fiesta Conference Champions

Through 45 seasons, the PBA has always been a three-conference league. The only time that wasn't the case was during the 2000s, when most of the decade was played with only two conferences. The Philippine Cup was naturally retained, and the import-laden tournament was christened as the Fiest Conference. A total of seven Fiesta Conferences were played, the first one was a transitional tournament in 2004 and the rest were played through the six seasons that followed. With the PBA shortening its 45th season due to the COVID-19 outbreak and a two-conference format all the more likely for 2020, now seems like the perfect time to go back and remember all the Fiesta Conference champions.   2004 Fiesta Conference - Barangay Ginebra def. Red Bull, 3-1 The first Fiesta Conference was a transitional tournament in 2004, marking the league's official transition to a two-conference format under PBA Commissioner Noli Eala. Ginebra was just the no. 7 seed in the regular season but got the number 2 spot in its group in a crossover quarterfinals that included foreign guest teams.  The Gin Kings then took out Talk 'N Text in the semis and Red Bull in the Finals to take the title. Eric Menk was Finals MVP. 2005 Fiesta Conference - San Miguel Beer def. Talk 'N Text, 4-1 In the Finals featuring the top-2 seeds, no. 2 San Miguel Beer got off to a 2-0 start and handily issued a gentleman's sweep of the Phone Pals. The Beermen only lost two playoff games to win their 17th league title. Danny Ildefonso was the Finals MVP. 2006 Fiesta Conference - Red Bull def. Purefoods, 4-2 Red Bull lost the second-seed playoff to Barangay Ginebra but the Barako got back at the Gin Kings by winning their semifinal series in seven games. Red Bull then beat Purefoods in the Finals for the franchise's third and last PBA championship. Enrico Villanueva was the BPC and Finals MVP. 2007 Fiesta Conference - Alaska def. Talk 'N Text, 4-3 [Related: Forgotten Finals: Alaska's storybook championship] 2008 Fiesta Conference - Barangay Ginebra def. Air21, 4-3 The Gin Kings swept all the individual awards, with Jay-jay Helterbrand being named BPC, Chris Alexander as Best Import, and Ronald Tubid as Finals MVP. However, a banged-up Ginebra team needed seven games to hold off the top-ranked Air21 Express. This would mark as the Gin King's last title until Justin Brownlee became the team's import eight years later. 2009 Fiesta Conference - San Miguel def. Barangay Ginebra, 4-3 [Related: Forgotten Finals: That one time Ping won a title with San Miguel Beer] 2010 Fiesta Conference - Alaska def. San Miguel, 4-2 With Diamon Simpson as import, Alaska stopped the Talk 'N Text juggernaut to enter the Finals. Trailing 2-3 to a Phone Pals team that won 13 straight games in the elimination round, the Aces rallied to take the series in seven. In the Finals, Alaska took a 3-1 lead before taking down defending champion San Miguel Beer in six. LA Tenorio and Cyrus Baguio were co-Finals MVPs and this marks as coach Tim Cone's final title with the Aces.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 8th, 2020

FIBA: Search is on for Gilas Pilipinas next naturalized player

As of right now, Gilas Pilipinas has no naturalized player on deck. The hope for the national team is to have more than a couple now moving forward. Ateneo's Angelo Kouame, the Blue Eagles' young 6'10" behemoth out of Ivory Coast, is one of the main priority players for Gilas Pilipinas. "We've just put the name of Angelo Kouame in the [naturalization] process, Ideally for me, I think if we can have three names, so that you have also options," SBP President Al Panlilio said. "So that's a work in progress," he added. Other names in consideration are PBA players Chris McCullough of San Miguel and Justin Brownlee of Barangay Ginebra. However, in the case of McCullough, the talks with him are in the very early stages of development. "We reached out to him. He's committed to be part of it. I guess at the end of the day, commitment and an agreement on a commercial term is different. We're in the early stages of talking to him," Panlilio said on McCullough. "Angelo pa lang so far. And I think, I heard Congressman Mikee Romero put Justin Brownlee's name in the process, so we'll see," he added. While Gilas' search for its next naturalized player is important, finding a head coach also takes priority. Said future head coach might want an input for a naturalized player, after all. "We're also looking into really a full time coach, right? So, parang we're trying to balance. It depends also on the coach. Baka mamaya ibang player ang gusto niya, di ba. So we wanna make sure lang that we don't get somebody that might not fit the program," Panlilio said. "It's quite a difficult time to decide. So my first task in fact is to really maybe start the search for a full time coach for the national team. It starts from there," he added. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 28th, 2020

ABL 10: Brownlee missing in action for Alab Pilipinas

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA – Justin Brownlee’s first game back for San Miguel Alab Pilipinas will still have to wait. Brownlee will miss his second straight game for the Filipinos ever since being announced for a return a week ago. The American reinforcement had been slated to suit up for the Philippine team in its matchup opposite Saigon, Sunday inside the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex here, but missed multiple flights. According to members of team management who requested anonymity, Alab had already provided a ticket for Brownlee as early as last Monday, but it was left unclaimed. Management then rebooked a flight for last Wednesday, but that was also left unused by Ginebra’s resident import. Brownlee was then said to have assured the Filipinos that he would be arriving on Sunday morning, but all of a sudden backed out without disclosing his reasons. As of right now, the Philippine team is still holding on to his commitment, but remains in the dark about what exactly is going on with him. —— Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 23rd, 2020

Alab definitely interested in re-signing Justin Brownlee

MANILA, Philippines – It seems the Philippines just can’t get enough of Justin Brownlee. Days after Barangay Ginebra San Miguel clinched the 2019-2020 PBA Governors’ Cup title, Alab Pilipinas team owner Charlie Dy made it clear he is intent on signing his former import to stay and play for the country. "We’re ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 21st, 2020

Coach Charles on Mighty-Pilipinas: We better win the championship

Mighty Sports-Pilipinas is bound for the 2020 Dubai International Basketball Tournament with the strongest squad it has ever had. With Andray Blatche and Renaldo Balkman powering the youthful core comprised by Dave Ildefonso, Jamie Malonzo, Thirdy Ravena, Kai Sotto, and Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan, the Filipino representatives are nothing but poised to bring home its maiden title in the tournament. Indeed, it's championship or bust, even in the eyes of head coach Charles Tiu. "We better win the championship, that's all I can say," he said. He then continued, "Hopefully, we learned our lessons from our mistakes last year." A year ago, the Philippines settled for third-place even with Ginebra's resident import Justin Brownlee and NBA champion Lamar Odom showing the way. Now, Mighty Sports has reloaded and has, actually, become fully loaded. Still, Coach Charles is not guaranteeing anything just yet - especially as they haven't had any practice with a full roster. "It's not gonna be easy. Every tournament like this, one bad game is all it's gonna take," he said. He then continued, "We're not really a team yet. We've been together for (just a little over a week) so that's always going to be a challenge, but hopefully, we can figure things out." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2020

The ultimate competitor : Meralco s Durham congratulates Ginebra rival Brownlee

Meralco's Allen Durham didn't take long to congratulate to rival and fellow import Justin Brownlee, following the Bolts' loss against the Barangay Ginebra in Game Five of the PBA Governor's Cup Finals on Friday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 18th, 2020

PBA: Japeth Aguilar towers above all to win Finals MVP

Barangay Ginebra is on top of the PBA mountain once again after shutting down Meralco in five games to capture the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup. [Related: PBA Finals: Ginebra beats Meralco again to regain Governors' Cup title] Justin Brownlee was awesome per usual and Stanley Pringle balled out in his first-ever Finals. But the Honda-PBA Press Corps Finals MVP is Japeth Aguilar, who was key on both ends in the Gin Kings' latest tile conquest. Aguilar, who won his first Finals MVP award, averaged 17.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks in the series. He saved his best performance for last in Game 5, leading the Gin Kings in scoring with 25 points on top of eight rebounds, and four blocks. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2020

Almazan injury was turning point of PBA Finals, says coach Norman

Meralco just had no answer for Ginebra in the last three games of the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup Finals. After a convincing victory in Game 2 that evened the race-to-four series at 1-all, the Bolts lost three in a row to the Gin Kings. The crowd favorites, led by resident import Justin Brownlee and Finals MVP Japeth Aguilar, just ran roughshod over Meralco. And unfortunately, it didn't help matters that the Bolts were far from full power. "We lost our big men in the third game, first quarter and we never seemed to be the same team again," head coach Norman Black said. "I think, before Raymond got hurt, (the series) was tied at 1-1 and the first quarter (of Game 3) was a close quarter. We were competitive, but once he got hurt, everything changed." Indeed, the two teams split the first two games of the series before Raymond Almazan injured his left knee halfway through the opening period of Game 3. Almazan played through the pain in Game 4, but was, without a doubt, not 100 percent. "I'm not blaming it on Raymond not being there, but that was a big factor," coach Norman said. He then continued, "Certainly, we faced a team that's quite big and quite talented and without Raymond in the middle, we suffered. A lot of credit should go to Ginebra - they took advantage of the situation." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2020

Still some positives for Meralco even though third time wasn t the charm

Meralco has now been at the losing end in all three of its matchups in its PBA Governors' Cup Finals trilogy opposite Ginebra. The Bolts' hearts were broken by Justin Brownlee in 2016 before falling short once more a year later. Now, head coach Norman Black and his wards lost the last three games to surrender yet another title to the Gin Kings. Nonetheless, the fact that Meralco is even here is actually something to celebrate. "We came in 11th- and eighth-place before the third conference so the addition of Raymond [Almazan], the addition of Allein [Maliksi], and of course, the return of AD (Allen Durham) have us a more competitive team and gave us a chance to win a championship," Coach Norman said. Indeed, the Bolts finished 11th at 3-8 in the Philippine Cup and then ended ninth at 4-7 in the Commissioner's Cup. With Almazan and Maliksi, as well as rookie Bong Quinto, reinforcing a core comprised of Durham, Baser Amer, Cliff Hodge, and Chris Newsome, though, they seemed to have the best shot at the franchise's first title. Unfortunately for them, it wasn't meant to be - especially after Almazan's knee injury in Game 3. Nonetheless, Meralco still scored a trophy - its third in the last four seasons. As Coach Norman put it, "The positive side is we made it to the championship which means we started the league with 12 teams and there were only two left and we were one of them." He then continued, "While that's not something that's gonna make you happy, at the same time, it's better than coming in third or fourth or fifth or sixth." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2020

Brownlee versus Durham Import matchup for the ages

The long-running marquee matchup between Barangay Ginebra resident import Justin Brownlee and Meralco Bolts counterpart Allen Durham is sure to leave a lasting imprint on PBA fans......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 17th, 2020