MANILA, Philippines – Staying in shape will be key for Justin Brownlee before the PBA Governors' Cup finals, but that has been made difficult no thanks to the appetizing Filipino food over the holiday break.
Brownlee will be spending Christmas and New Year in the country as the PBA set the finals of the season-ending conference next year, with Barangay Ginebra and Meralco vying for the coveted crown.
"Lots of sweets, got to be careful. Hopefully, I don't gain too much weight, there's a lot of good sweets," the three-time PBA champion said.
The Governors' Cup, which Brownlee and Barangay Ginebra have won in 2016 and 2017, usually wraps up before the year ends.
So this will be one of the rare times the 31-year-old import will have to spend the holidays away from the United States.
But Brownlee feels just right at home.
"I'm enjoying it. I love the excitement around Christmas here. A lot of Christmas lights and Christmas carols, things like that," he said.
"Even the gifts, from the team and everybody. It's been great. I love being here, I definitely feel that Christmas spirit."
To remain in lethal form, Brownlee looks forward to going back to practice with the team and coach Tim Cone as the Gin Kings seek to win their third Governors' Cup title in the last 4 seasons – all against the Bolts.
"You want to stay focused and locked in. It's the finals. I don't think we've ever done this – having extended breaks in the semis and in the finals," he said.
"We just want to stay focused and try not to lose the mentality that we already got right now. Hopefully, we don't take too many days off."
The best-of-seven finals will kick off on January 8 next year. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.