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Brownlee, Hollis-Jefferson brace for rematch

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PBA | JUSTIN Brownlee of Ginebra and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson of TNT Tropang Giga are set to rekindle their rivalry when they return for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Justin Brownlee and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson — two of the most versatile imports ever to play in the Philippine Basketball Association — are headed for a rematch.

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel coach Tim Cone and TNT Tropang Giga mentor Jojo Lastimosa confirmed to Daily Tribune that they will be bringing back Brownlee and Hollis-Jefferson when the Commissioner’s Cup unwraps on 15 October.

Cone revealed that Brownlee will be back for another tour of duty to spearhead their title defense in the season-opening conference.

The off-season has been very busy for the three-time Best Import.

After leading Gilas Pilipinas to the title in the men’s basketball competition of the 32nd Southeast Asian Games, Brownlee is tipped to be part of the preparation for the FIBA Basketball World Cup in August and the 19th Asian Games in September.

Expectations are high on Brownlee as he led the Kings to the title of the previous Commissioner’s Cup last January when they clobbered Bay Area, which featured two prolific imports in Myles Powell and Andrew Nicholson.

More than that, Brownlee is eyeing a personal milestone as he is bidding to become the winningest import in league history as he is currently tied with former Alaska reinforcement Sean Chambers with six championship rings.

To date, Brownlee is currently the fourth all-time leading scorer and the all-time leading three-point shooter among imports with more than 500 three-point shots made.

“Yes, for sure,” Cone said in a Viber message from Australia when asked if they will bring back the 6-foot-6 workhorse who also serves as the country’s naturalized player.

But blocking Brownlee’s road to his seventh title his bitter nemesis — Hollis-Jefferson.

‘Yes, we are bringing him back.’

Despite being way below the prescribed height limit of 6-foot-9 for Commissioner’s Cup imports, the 6-foot-6 Hollis-Jefferson will return for another tour of duty.

Lastimosa said he believes Hollis-Jefferson will flourish against taller, heftier imports due to his strength, athleticism, maturity, and vast international experience topped with a 7-foot-2 wingspan.

But more importantly, the chemistry that he developed with the Tropang Giga makes him a perfect choice as an import.

Right now, Hollis-Jefferson is campaigning for the Atleticos de San German in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional in Puerto Rico, an assignment that came few weeks after leading TNT Tropang Giga to the title of the Governors’ Cup and winning the Best Import title over Brownlee.

“Yes, we are bringing him back. Without a question, he will flourish against bigger imports,” said Lastimosa, who drew success after rolling the dice in bringing in Hollis-Jefferson as replacement for high-scoring Jalen Hudson.

With the return of Brownlee and Hollis-Jefferson, Ginebra and TNT are expected to essay another thrilling chapter to their rivalry.

In the previous Governors’ Cup, Brownlee and Hollis-Jefferson figured in a series to remember with the former NBA standout emerging victorious after posting 31 points, 14 rebounds and 6.8 assists in the six-game finals duel.

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