Tim Cone says Ginebra import Justin Brownlee still not used to warm weather in Manila

Import Justin Brownlee has joined Barangay Ginebra’s practice a day after fighting through leg cramps during his PBA Governors Cup debut on Sunday night against Alaska.

The Kings came back from a 15-point deficit, forced overtime behind the efforts of 6-foot-4 Brownlee and Sol Mercado, before bowing to the Aces, 109-100.

Brownlee gave a good account of himself after finishing with 31 points and hauling down  13 rebounds in just 29 minutes of action.  The 28-year-old American though went in and out of the game due to leg cramps. He scored the first basket for Ginebra in the extension period, but by then, he has been hobbling on the court, forcing coach Tim Cone to pull him out for good.

Cone said the St. John’s standout was at the hospital till 2 a.m. for rehydration before being sent home by the doctors.

“He was in the ER (emergency room) until 2 a.m. receiving fluids. But he came to practice this morning and just did limited participation,” Cone told FOX Sports after the team’s practice on Monday at the CCF gym.

The multi-titled PBA coach explained that being a first-timer in Asia, the weather seemed to have a direct effect on Brownlee, who arrived in Manila only last Thursday.

“Partly, he’s never been to Asia or the Tropics before so the heat was certainly a factor,” shared Cone. “Add jet lag and the fact that he hasn’t played organized ball since his stint in France which ended in May.” 

Still, the 58-year-old Ginebra mentor had nothing but praises for the team’s new import, who fought through leg cramps and almost led the team to victory.

“We love his skills and attitude and we feel he’s just going to get better and better,” he said.

An NBA D-League veteran who played for the Maine Red Claws and the Erie Bayhawks, Brownlee seemed to fit in right along with Ginebra, showing his ability to score inside, while possessing a decent shooting touch from the outside.

Ginebra’s board governor Alfrancis Chua was left impressed with Brownlee, a replacement for injured Paul Harris.

“He’s (Brownlee) a fighter, kasi kahit in pain, pero laban pa rin,” shared Chua.

But the new Ginebra import won’t have much time to rest since the Kings will returning to action on Wednesday against the NLEX Road Warriors, before traveling to Lucena on Saturday to clash with the Meralco Bolts. – Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava