Brownlee Stars as Ginebra Snares Top Seed

The Gin Kings cruised to a 94-80 victory over Mahindra to finish the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup with a 9-2 card and secure the number one seed Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum, replicating their feat back in the Philippine Cup three years ago.

Justin Brownlee imposed his presence for Ginebra with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists, as the franchise topped an import-laden conference for the first time in 20 years, dating back to its Gordon’s Gin days in the 1997 Commissioner’s Cup.

The Gin Kings now await the victor of the eighth-place playoff between GlobalPort and Alaska on Sunday.

“We deserve to be number one. We beat all the top teams and we should take advantage of it, but we can’t play on everybody’s expectations but we have to play to our own,” said coach Tim Cone.

Japeth Aguilar added 14 markers, nine boards, and two assists, while Mark Caguioa had an efficient 6-of-10 shooting from inside the arc to nab 13 points and four rebounds.

Despite the confidence-boosting win, Cone still was unsatisfied with how his team fared against the Floodbuster.

“We didn’t play that well. You have to give Mahindra some credit, they defended well. We didn’t have the flow that we wanted offensively. Even though we’re up 14, we didn’t feel like we’re playing at a high level,” he said. “But bottomline is we got the win and we’re moving on and we secured the number one seed and we’ll see who we play.”

The Gin Kings, who will enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, now await the victor of the eighth-place playoff between GlobalPort and Alaska.

Keith Wright finished his campaign with Mahindra with 21 points and 22 rebounds, while Glenn Khobuntin got 16 markers and nine boards in the conference-ending loss.

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