THE Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings struggled mightily at the start of the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup as they initially stumbled through the win-loss column with a 1-3 record.
But everything changed when ol’ reliable Justin Brownlee made his triumphant return after a successful ABL stint where he towed Alab Pilipinas into a championship.
The much-beloved import is currently in his fourth tour of duty for the league’s most popular ball club, making him a mainstay for the squad.
Could he follow the foot steps of some of the league’s top resident imports? He looks to be on his way, and some of the renowned PBA coaches would definitely agree.
“Obviously, he’ll be right up there with the likes of (Bobby) Parks, (Sean) Chambers, (Billy Ray) Bates, (Michael) Hackett, and even myself. He could’ve played in the 80’s given how good he is,” answered Meralco head coach Norman Black in a phone interview with FOX Sports PH.
“I would name Parks, Chambers, Black as some of the greatest resident imports and guys like AZ Reid and Brownlee are definitely on their way,” added San Miguel head coach Leo Austria.
Recruiting imports are an unenviable task for these coaches, as finding the right player involves a meticulous evaluation of his talent level. But more than anything, the intangible attributes are what these coaches are looking for, and that’s what Justin Brownlee has shown for these past few years.
“Coaching against him is quite a problem given his already talented skillset – he is solid as he plays well on both ends and he makes his teammates better,” said Black.
“Brownlee is a great fit for the Ginebra Gin Kings. Wala kang masabi sa bata na ‘yan, sobrang coachable. Kahit minsan kulang height against bigger imports, it doesn’t matter kasi magaling talaga siya,” added Austria.
Reinforcements are a big part of the league’s 43-year legacy, as they helped raised the bar of competition. As most would come and go, only few had the privilege to stay and make the Philippines their second home. With the PBA being one of the top leagues in the world today, it is not surprising as to why some foreigners like Brownlee decided to bring their talents here in the archipelago. Take it from Black, who became a league legend himself.
“The PBA is a great place to work as they pay their imports on time. They also love playing in the warm weather here and being part of such great fan support. Filipinos here can speak good English, and the imports love the restaurants here. I’m sure guys like Brownlee find it easier to adapt their lifestyle here making the country a great place to stay,” explained Black.