Brownlee makes childhood dreams come true with game-winner

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 20 2016 04:07 AM

Brownlee makes childhood dreams come true with game-winner 1
Ginebra import Justin Brownlee takes the game-winning three-pointer against the defense of Meralco's Allen Durham. Arvin Lim, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – Before he became a hero to millions of Barangay Ginebra fans, Justin Brownlee was just like any other young basketball player who dreamed of having the ball in their hands in the final seconds with a chance of winning the game.

"There's the thing when you're a kid, you know," said Brownlee. "You have the ball in your hand, and you count down."

"Five, four, three, two, one," he said. "And you shoot it. I've always dreamed and imagined it."

Brownlee made those dreams come true on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum, in front of over 20,000 screaming fans, most of whom were cheering for him and the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings.

With the game tied at 88 and only 5.5 seconds to go, Brownlee was able to get the ball but found himself in an ideal position. As the time ran out on Game 6 of the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup Finals, Brownlee pulled up for a deep three-pointer that hit nothing but net.

Pandemonium broke out at the Big Dome. The dagger – which put Brownlee's total for the game at 31 points – had given Ginebra the victory that ended an eight-year championship drought.

"I couldn't imagine it the way it happened," said Brownlee. "I thank God for this opportunity, and that shot going in."

Ginebra head coach Tim Cone admitted after the game that he did not think Brownlee's three-pointer was going to go in at first. After all, it was a deep three-pointer, and well-contested, as Meralco's Allen Durham stayed home on Brownlee in the final possession.

"That was a really difficult shot he made," said Cone, who also revealed that the initial play called for Brownlee to drive to the hoop. "He made the decision to pull up and shoot the three. Any shot at that point would have been a good shot, because it was tied, and if we didn't make it, we'll go to overtime."

"He got the ball too far away," added Cone. "He was supposed to get the ball at the top of the key… But at least he got to a shooting position, and he let it go."

"I was like, 'oh, shoot.' I'm thinking overtime when he shot it, because you know, it was a tough shot. Then, it goes in. And, oh my gosh."

Brownlee's shot was so tremendous that Cone could not help but feel somewhat sorry for Meralco counterpart Norman Black. "They played it perfectly. They denied him, he got the ball far," Cone said.

"It was just a great shot. Nothing he could have done, and you feel a little bad," he admitted.

Black, for his part, simply commended Brownlee for making the biggest play of the conference.

"That was a huge shot by Justin Brownlee. It's a three-pointer at the buzzer," he said. "So there's not much we can do about it."

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