Sports

Justin Brownlee snags 2nd straight Best Import honor

Brownlee earned his second straight Best Import honors and third overall behind a superb run in the 2022-2023 PBA Commissioner’s Cup as he powered Barangay Ginebra to the finals for the sixth time in nine stints with the team.

Posting impressive numbers of 28 points, 10.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 1.7 blocks, and 1.2 steals through the semifinals, Brownlee won the award in runaway fashion and bested Magnolia’s Nick Rakocevic and San Miguel’s Devon Scott.

The American reinforcement, who is undergoing the process of becoming a naturalized Filipino, tied longtime rival Allen Durham of Meralco for second-most Best Import citations in PBA history.

Only the late great Bobby Parks has more Best Import plums with a record seven wins.

Brownlee captured his first Best Import trophy in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup and repeated in the 2021-2022 Governors’ Cup.

Just like in the Governors’ Cup last year, Brownlee banked on a solid campaign in the playoffs to seize the top spot in the statistical battle.

Brownlee trailed NLEX’s Earl Clark and Converge’s Quincy Miller in statistical points at the end of the elimination round, but by the time the semifinals wrapped up, he already vaulted to first place.

The five-time PBA champion averaged 27.7 points, 9.5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2.8 blocks, and 1.5 steals in the quarterfinals and semifinals as the Gin Kings eliminated NorthPort and Magnolia, respectively.

Rakocevic finished behind Brownlee after putting the Hotshots on his back with averages of 21.7 points, 17 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 1.7 blocks en route to a 10-2 record for the second seed and a win-once advantage in the playoffs.

He and Magnolia made quick work of Phoenix in the quarterfinals, but they fell to Brownlee and Ginebra in four games in the semifinals.

Scott also reached the final four with the Beermen as he averaged 21.8 points, 14.1 points, 5.6 assists, and 1.4 steals in 15 games after coming in as a replacement import for Diamond Stone.

However, Scott and San Miguel succumbed to guest team Bay Area in the semifinals, losing in four games.

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