Brgy. Ginebra takes Game 1 behind Justin Brownlee’s 44

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Justin Brownlee showed Renaldo Balkman how to play the PBA finals, and led Barangay Ginebra to a blazing start versus San Miguel Beer in their Commissioner’s Cup championship series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday night.

A two-time PBA champion import, Brownlee was in his elements, erupting for 42 points as the Kings upstaged the Beermen, 127-99, for the crucial head start in their best-of-seven title playoff.

SMB coach Leo Austria insisted in the run-up to the finals the Kings would have the edge at least in the series opener with their 10 wins in the last 11 outings.

And the Kings were only too willing to prove Austria right.

Brownlee came out smoking, and the Kings fashioned out a dominant wire-to-wire victory in a performance that spoke well of their chance against the reigning titlists.

A crowd of over 11,000 stood as witness as Brownlee and his Ginebra teammates sent San Miguel’s All-Star core group down on their knees.

The scores:

Brgy. Ginebra 127 – Brownlee 42, Devance 20, Slaughter 11, Caguioa 11, Mercado 10, Tenorio 9, Thompson 7, Ferrer 7, Mariano 4, Chan 2, Cruz 2, Aguilar 2, Caperal 0, Manuel 0.

San Miguel 99 – Balkman 27, Standhardinger 26, Fajardo 13, Santos 8, Lassiter 6, Cabagnot 5, Nabong 5, Ross 4, Lanete 3, Pessumal 0.

Quarterscores: 35-20, 69-50, 94-75, 127-99.