Brownlee's triple ends Ginebra's 8-year title drought

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 19 2016 10:00 PM | Updated as of Oct 19 2016 11:15 PM

(UPDATED) A storybook ending.

That's what Justin Brownlee and the rest of Barangay Ginebra did on Wednesday night when they overcame Meralco in Game 6 of the PBA Governors' Cup Final with a pulsating 91-88 victory to end a title drought that started in 2008.

The score was tied 88-all with 5.5 seconds remaining when Brownlee took matters in his own hands and started a play that would put him in the annals of Barangay Ginebra history and lore.

The former St. John's Red Storm player got past Allen Durham's defense and launched a long three-point shot, one that would beat the buzzer and end the Gin Kings' eight-year title slump.

"He just made a great play on his own," said coach Tim Cone. "We knew we'd go into overtime if he misses so either way we're in good shape."

"There's a lot of stuff that happened all before that play, thank God [the title's] here." 

Brownlee had 31 points, nine rebounds, and four assists to cap a dramatic conference for Ginebra.

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Justin Brownlee scored the biggest shot for the Gin Kings. PBA Media Bureau photo

LA Tenorio was equally impressive. He provided the Kings the leadership they needed especially in the first half where they trailed 32-45. 

Tenorio, who was named Finals MVP, dished out 25 points and six assists.

Ginebra tied Toyota’s haul of nine championships, which is fifth-best in the league after San Miguel Beer’s 22, Alaska Milk’s 14 and 13 apiece by Crispa and Star.

The title win was also Cone's 19th, the most for any coach in PBA history.

"The team came together because of the players working game, not only in this series but the whole conference. When they play with such great hunger and desire, it rubbed off with everybody," said Cone. 

"We really wanted to win this championship for Mark [Caguioa] and JayJay [Helterbrand], no doubt about that. because they want it so much for the fans."

The Gin Kings came into Game 6 with a 3-2 series lead and the intent to finish the Bolts.

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Barangay Ginebra in a huddle. PBA Media Bureau photo

But Meralco zoomed ahead with a blistering 18-4 run that had Ginebra reeling in the first quarter. Chris Newsome and Reynel Hugnatan also did damage for the Bolts in the second quarter to secure a 45-32 halftime lead for the Meralco franchise.

A different Ginebra, however, emerged from the dugout in the third quarter, one that made the game tight until Brownlee's winning shot.

PBA legend Robert Jaworski made the difference, according to Cone.

"Coach Jaworski came into the locker room, he settled everybody down, he made a couple of comments, and got the guys to giggle, relax," recounted the Ginebra coach.

"He told us they're too tight, too tentative and we weren't coming out to play to our best. I think the guys really felt something from that, came out and we just took off right from there."

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Tim Cone said Robert Jaworski was a factor in the victory. PBA Media Bureau photo