Ginebra import Justin Brownlee embraces challenge in finals duty

Justin Brownlee is unperturbed with doubts as to whether he still has enough gas left to lead Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to another PBA championship.

Photo from PBA

Aware of sentiments that have come out through online platforms, Brownlee understands that such things are part of the success that has come around ever since arriving in 2016 to turn the fortunes of the once struggling franchise.

“People around me, they would tell me. Maybe sometimes my teammates, or maybe friends, family members and stuff like that,” Brownlee said. “They'll tell me about, ‘Oh did you see what such and such said?’

“But I mean, it’s expected. It kinda comes with the territory, as far as you aging as a basketball player,” added the 33-year-old prior to the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals series with Meralco.

This conference was Brownlee’s eighth appearance with Ginebra, including three in the Commissioner’s Cup where teams can tap imports 6-foot-10 and under.

But it may have been the most challenging of all as Ginebra went on a tailspin after a 3-0 start, losing four straight before finding ways to turn things around when it mattered.

And once the playoffs began, Brownlee was like the Brownlee of old, delivering big moment after big moment as Ginebra dispatched TNT and NLEX to set up a fourth title showdown with Meralco.

“I think people tend to think that if you have maybe one or two games that's not normal, as what you used to produce, I think those things are, they come with the territory,” he said.

“So it can be motivation. It also can be a reality check, you know, as far as maybe, I’m not where I wanna be. And to be honest, early in the conference, I wasn’t in the proper shape as I am now. So I think, like I said, it comes with the territory, and I got to take the blows however they come.”

Brownlee has opted to let his games do the talking, which he plans to do during the course of the series as he hopes to add another piece of hardware to be placed in Ginebra’s trophy cabinet.

Ginebra has won in all of the five finals appearances with Brownlee, and a sixth would further enhance his status as perhaps one of the greatest imports of all-time.

“You have new challenges, you have new opportunities, that’s how I look at it everyday,” said Brownlee. “It’s not about just the end, it’s about creating new heights. You get to that mountaintop, you want to try to get to another one.

“So I think that’s the mindset we have everyday, just chiming in and treating it like you got to keep going step by step to keep going higher.”