MANILA, Philippines – Justin Brownlee has no doubts that Allen Durham will one day reach the same heights that he has already achieved with Barangay Ginebra in the PBA.
Durham won the Best Import award in the PBA Governors' Cup for the third time, but it was Brownlee who got the last laugh once more as he led Ginebra to the championship. The Gin Kings overcame the Bolts in five games for their third Governors' Cup crown in four years – with all three titles coming at the expense of Durham's squad.
Despite their rivalry, there is a healthy measure of respect between Brownlee and Durham, and the Meralco import even said on social media that his Ginebra counterpart was the "ultimate competitor," before saying that their saga was still not over.
Brownlee is certain that Durham will keep his word.
"He's the ultimate competitor as well," Brownlee said of Durham on Monday, ahead of Barangay Ginebra's victory celebration at Metrowalk. "I know the type of player, person he is."
"Losing is not gonna sit well on him, and he's the type of guy that's gonna bounce back," he predicted. "We've seen him three times in the finals. If I had to guess, we'll probably see him again. If we make it to the finals, I'll probably say yes."
Durham did all he could to lift Meralco in the finals series, but losing Raymond Almazan in Game 3 proved to be a blow that the Bolts could not recover from. The import delivered 29 points, 21 rebounds and 8 assists in Game 5, yet Ginebra still clinched the title with a 105-93 win.
The two imports shared a moment after the game, and Brownlee revealed that he told Durham to keep his head up.
"Even though they didn't win a championship, of course it's unfortunate for them, but in my eyes, he's still a champion," said Brownlee. "He's still a warrior."
Brownlee credited Durham with inspiring Ginebra to level up its game every time they faced off, and predicted that his rival will one day break through.
"I just told him, you know there's a lot of great things in your future," said Brownlee. "I'm sure he'll be a champion one day, if not in this league, but definitely in another league or perhaps in this league."
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