Brownlee versus Durham Import matchup for the ages

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The long-running marquee matchup between Barangay Ginebra resident import Justin Brownlee and Meralco Bolts counterpart Allen Durham is sure to leave a lasting imprint on PBA fans.

In the last four years, the tried-and-tested reinforcements figured in an exciting rivalry for the ultimate prize of the Governors’ Cup three times, missing only one time in the 2018 edition when both the Gin Kings and the Bolts got stopped in the semifinal stage.

Brownlee enjoys the edge in championship rings, winning their two previous encounters in 2016 and 2017 – the first one he clinched via a dramatic last-gasp triple – aside from his triumph in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup.

Durham is up in terms of individual awards, copping the Best Import accolade in 2016 and 2017 and annexing his third in the ongoing Governors’ Cup.

The do-it-all Durham beat Brownlee in a close race for the “Bobby Parks Sr. Award” (1,170 points against the latters’ 937),  a feat that installed him as the No. 2 in all-time Best Import ladder behind the late Parks (with seven plums).

“It would have been great to win it but Allen, he deserves it,” said Brownlee. “Every time he’s here in the Philippines, he elevates his team and he’s been playing great basketball, playing at the highest level so I think he deserves it,” said Brownlee, himself a one-time Best Import awardee.

“So honored to receive another Best Import award,” said Durham.

However, the Bolts’ situation won’t allow Durham to celebrate much. At press time, the Bolts were standings on the brink of another heartbreak with Ginebra (3-1) a victory away from capturing the crown.

“It don’t mean nothing right now. That’s not why I came back. I’m just worried about trying to get a win on Friday and extend the series,” said Durham.

Brownlee was gunning for his fourth title in the league, which will make him second only to Sean Chambers (six) in terms of PBA titles collected.

Meanwhile, the PBA did its share in helping the victims of Taal Volcano’s eruption.

Last night, the league donated P1-million to the province of Batangas right before Game 5 of the Ginebra-Meralco series at MOA Arena.

Commissioner Willie Marcial, who hails from Batangas City, said aside from the financial assistance from the league, they will also donate 500 pair of slippers to evacuees, courtesy of Blackwater through owner Dioceldo Sy.

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