PBA: Brownlee honored to join elite list of imports

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 14 2022 05:02 PM

Ginebra import Justin Brownlee receives the Bobby Parks Best Import of the Conference trophy ahead of Game 4 of the PBA Governors' Cup Finals. PBA Images.
Ginebra import Justin Brownlee receives the Bobby Parks Best Import of the Conference trophy ahead of Game 4 of the PBA Governors' Cup Finals. PBA Images.

MANILA, Philippines -- Despite having won four PBA championships since joining Barangay Ginebra in 2016, Justin Brownlee has been named Best Import just once.

That changed on Wednesday night, when the Ginebra reinforcement was awarded the Bobby Parks trophy as the top import of the 2021 PBA Governors' Cup. Brownlee averaged 30.1 points, 11.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.6 blocks through the semifinals to emerge as the front-runner.

Making the award more special was that the Gin Kings defeated the Meralco Bolts in Game 4 of the finals, held after the brief awarding ceremony at the Araneta Coliseum. Brownlee had 27 points, as he and Scottie Thompson -- the newly-crowned Best Player of the Conference -- led the way in Ginebra's 95-84 win.

"Getting the win made it way sweeter, though. Definitely, congratulations to Scottie. He definitely, he's well-deserving of that award, he's been playing incredible, especially in the playoffs," said Brownlee after the game, where they tied the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

"I'm just happy we got the win. Winning the Best Import award was definitely icing on the cake, too, and the win was great," he added.

Brownlee is already considered among the best imports in PBA history, but by winning a second Bobby Parks trophy, he joined an elite list of foreign reinforcements.

The 33-year-old American is only the 10th import in the history of the league to win the Best Import award more than once. Among other multiple-time winners are Meralco head coach Norman Black, the legendary Billy Ray Bates, and more recently, Gabe Freeman and Arizona Reid. 

Allen Durham, who was Meralco's Governors' Cup import from 2016 to 2019, won the award over Brownlee three times. The gold standard remains the late, great Bobby Parks, who was the league's Best Import seven times in a career that spanned over a decade.

"I definitely know some of the guys in that 10, so it's definitely good to be mentioned with them, and you know, still have the recognition in this league," said Brownlee. "It's a great league, and knowing the history, it means a lot."

Brownlee won his first Best Import award in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup -- an honor that will always hold a special meaning for him.

"When I won that award, unfortunately Sheryl was going through some things," said Brownlee, referring to his agent, Sheryl Reyes, who was battling cervical cancer at the time.

She passed away in May 2019. 

"That would always be special for me because I dedicated it to her. But this one is sweet as well," Brownlee said.