Justin Brownlee and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel continued to create history.
The three-time best import kept his perfect record in the finals and the Gin Kings completed their task by crushing the Dragons of Bay Area, 114-99, in Game 7 of the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup Sunday.
A record crowd of 54,589 packed the cavernous Philippine Arena in Bulacan and came home triumphantly as the Kings dominated from the start.
Brownlee pumped in 34 points, 15 in the first period alone as he set the tone for Ginebra’s sizzling start. He capped his big game by pulling down eight rebounds and dishing out 12 assists.
The Dragons, saddled by poor shooting, failed to mount a comeback, the closest they could get was 15 twice, including the final score.
Now known as Justin “Noypi” after being granted Philippine citizenship, Brownlee has gone 6-for-6 in the championship series.
More importantly, Brownlee is now tied for the most number of championships won among reinforcements, a feat which he shared with fellow great Sean Chambers of Alaska.
He also moved up as the all-time leader in three-point shots made among imports and vaulted into the fifth spot in the all-time scoring leaders’ list.
Movie and television stars, politicians, and retired great players showed up to watch the game.
From Janno Gibbs, Anjo Yllana, Gene and Daniel Padilla, two-time grand slam winner and former Most Valuable Player Freddie Hubalde, ex-Ginebra stars Noli Locsin and Vince Hizon to Senator Bong Go to San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora, they were all reduced to becoming fans of the league’s crowd darling.
The Kings came out smoking right from the get-go, but it was in the second period that they went on a tear, outscoring the Dragons, 34-18, and taking a commanding 61-39 lead.
The 22-point lead was the largest advantage posted by either squad and the Kings did the best thing of practically taking the fight out of the visiting squad.
The last foreign team to win a PBA crown was Nicholas Stoodley during the 1980 Invitational Tournament, beating Toyota, 2-0.
Ginebra became the first team since Toyota in the 1977 Invitational tournament to beat a foreign squad in a championship series.
Curiously, Toyota was led by Robert Jaworski, the same man who epitomized that never-say-die spirit of Ginebra.
By winning their 15th championship, the Gin Kings also vaulted as the second-winningest team in PBA history behind sister team San Miguel, which has a total of 28 titles.
Ginebra (114) — Brownlee 34, Malonzo 22, Thompson 18, Aguilar 14, Standhardinger 12, Tenorio 10, Pringle 3, Gray 1, Pinto 0.
Bay Area (99) — Powell 29, Blankley 25, Liu 17, Lam 13, Yang 10, Zhu 5, Ju 0, Reid 0, Song 0.
Quarters: 27-21, 61-39, 95-74, 114-99.
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