Nicholson, Brownlee review recall college head to head
Bay Region big support Andrew Nicholson will not protect Barangay Ginebra importer Justin Brownlee when the PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-seven finals get underway this Christmas Day at MOA Field in Pasay City.
In any case, the two imported products shared a certain history, since their university teams competed against each other no less than twice during their respective school careers.
Long before Nicholson rose to fame as a five-year NBA veteran who saw him play for the Orlando Sorcery, Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets, the 33-year-old Canadian was a star at St. Bonaventure, where he was named the Atlantic 10 freshman of the Year and the All-Defensive Group in 2010 before winning the 2012 MVP.
Brownlee, in turn, saw activity for St. John’s. Despite not being drafted into the NBA, he worked his way up his G League leadership and saw activity for the Maine Red Claws and the Erie Bayhawks before embarking on an overseas visit that saw him play in Italy, France and the Philippines, where he has been has won five PBA championships and two Best Import Awards.
As the two imports look back on their respective school trips, Nicholson recalled that his school shared a record for success with Brownlee’s St. John’s.
“You better believe it, we played each other, I’ll reconsider, and they beat us the first time, and after that we beat them (the) second time (we met). It’s been quite a while and when I realized we were coming to the PBA I remembered his name,” Nicholson told the media during Friday’s True Finals press meeting at the Novotel.
Nicholson had nothing but scintillating compliments for Brownlee, who dropped 46 points, 111-93, in her first PBA duel on Oct. 9 with Ginebra charging across the Narrows Region.
“He (Brownlee) is an incredible player,” said Nicholson. I played and matched him at school. From what I remember he’s great and I expect an exceptional performance.”
Brownlee, currently. 34, Nicholson recalled as the current dominant force in painting
“No doubt, I remember, I think the last game (we checked at school) we won. I can’t really remember, but I do remember that we played. He’s been predominant since he was in school and I’ve followed him (his trade) since he was drafted into the NBA and saw him (play) in Orlando with the enchantment,” Brownlee said.
While the two imports were still trying to make their mark more than 10 years ago, this time they are fighting for the glory of their respective expert ball club.
Nicholson will look to lead the visiting group Inlet Region to a PBA title, while Brownlee will look to prevent that from happening while he sees a League Six championship as an import for Ginebra.
Meanwhile, a quick excavation of past school results from online sites reveals that Brownlee’s St. John’s outplayed Nicholson’s St. Bonaventure, 69-68 behind little keeper Malik Boothe’s two game-changing foul shots in the final plan in a November 2009 game.
The next year, Nicholson showed intense intensity, sealing his group’s equalizer with a jumper with 5.1 seconds left and eventually leading to St. Bonaventure’s 67-66 squeak of success, which interestingly marks the Bonnie’s success over the Johnnies since the 1960s.