AS a champion ballclub, import Justin Brownlee believes Barangay Ginebra was a better team than the one that lost to TNT, 114-105, on the final playdate of the PBA Governors' Cup elimination phase Friday night at the Philsports Arena.
The Kings, Bronwlee implied, didn't play with the poise of a two-time defending champion down the stretch, causing them to lose the game they once led by as many as 14 and failed to nail the no. 1 seed heading into the playoffs.
"I think we just got to focus more down the stretch. We're a veteran team, so I think we should have been smarter," said the Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player about the sorry loss.
The Kings were in control of the match, 98-84, with 10:33 to play in the fourth quarter after a Stanley Pringle three-pointer.
But the Tropang Giga went on a 16-1 run in a five-minute stretch to take the upperhand, 100-99, on a left handed dunk by import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
While Ginebra reclaimed the lead, Roger Pogoy took matter into his own hands and scored seven straight points in a span of almost two minutes as TNT finally controlled the game, 110-104, entering the homestretch.
Brownlee pointed out to turnovers as the one which did Ginebra in.
"I think the biggest thing there was turnovers," he said. "We got more rebounds, we shot a good percentage. We shared the ball pretty well. I think we're close to about 30 assists. Overall, I think we did a great job.
"But that last portion of the fourth quarter that really hurt us."
Indeed, the Kings outrebounded the Tropang Giga, 52-39, had more assists, 25-20, while shooting better from the field at 50 percent.
They committed a total of 22 turnovers, however, or half of TNT's total of 11.
"Our focus went out of it (stretch run of the fourth) and TNT did a really good job of taking advantage of that," added Brownlee. (RG)