PBA: Balkman and SMB survive Brownlee and Ginebra in an OT thriller

MANILA, Philippines – The score between the Alab Pilipinas imports Renaldo Balkman and Justin Brownlee has finally been settled as San Miguel survived Ginebra in an overtime, 104-97 on Sunday, June 3, 2018 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Balkman and SMB survive Brownlee and Ginebra in an OT thriller
From ABL best buddies to PBA rivals! Renaldo Balkman and Justin Brownlee played against each other for the first time as SMB collided with Ginebra | Photo Credit: ABS-CBN News

It’s been more than a month since Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman played together and eventually won the ABL crown bannering their San Miguel Alab Pilipinas jerseys. But tonight, the ecstatic imports played against each other as their respective teams collided.

“B1 and B2” both scored 2 points in the early phase of the 1st quarter. Although, fans hadn’t seen them guard each other as Matt Rosser was tasked to guard Justin Brownlee while Japeth Aguilar locked horns with Renaldo Balkman.

It was too close to call who the better player was in just one period as the reinforcements both had 6 points but it was Balkman who had a nasty highlight where the NBA veteran posterized Japeth Aguilar with a tomahawk dunk in the middle. The Beermen were up 23-20.

Also present at the MOA Arena were ABL’s local MVP Bobby Ray Parks Jr. and Alab Pilipinas’ Head Coach Jimmy Alapag who were obviously cheering for both Brownlee and Balkman.

Justin Brownlee posted a rare triple-double last Friday when Ginebra faced Meralco. But tonight, it seemed that Brownlee met his kryptonite as the Barangay’s resident import only tallied 10 points and 5 rebounds versus Renaldo Balkman’s 15 and 7 after 2 quarters where San Miguel held onto its 47-43 slight advantage.

The prolific imports showed similarities in stats in the 3rd quarter with 8 rebounds and 3 assists apiece. The former New York Knick forward however, topped his ABL partner with 23 points while the Ginebra’s most loved scoring guard, Brownlee had 13.

Both Brownlee and Balkman were subbed out as the 3rd period clock winded down. Even though Balkman led Brownlee in points, Ginebra had the advantage 73-71, as both squads prepare for the final quarter.

The actual face off of the ABL heroes happened at the 9th minute mark of the fourth and it didn’t end well for Renaldo Balkman as he was chased down and blocked hard by his pal, Justin Brownlee during a fast break attempt.

The score was tied at 89-all at the 2-minute warning of the game. Terrific defense from both teams were shown until the last 30 ticks where Arwind Santos made a crucial basket for the lead. Joe Devance however, erased it with a triple in front of Renaldo Balkman.

4 Quarters were really not enough for Balkman and Brownlee to settle the score and they needed 5 more minutes to win the game and see who’s the better import.

Among the 2 imports, Justin Brownlee is the only one who scored in the extra period. Despite Balkman’s inactivity in the overtime, San Miguel won 104-97.

With the victory, Renaldo Balkman proved that he’s better than Justin Brownlee in this classic rivalry and in the elimination round at least. Balkman finished with 27 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and a steal while his counterpart wrapped up the game with 18 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and 5 blocks.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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