Icons and franchise legends. That’s what the PBA Governors’ Cup has produced since its inception in 1993.
The league has been blessed by reinforcements who made their mark and shaped the landscape of the conference.
Here are some of the best of the best Governors’ Cup imports.
Sean Chambers (Alaska Milkmen/Aces)
It’s going to be blasphemy to start this list with another name.
Before Justin Brownlee, Sean Chambers dominated the Governors’ Cup in the 90s.
Among Chambers’ six titles, four were from the season-ending conference, including the 1996 Grand Slam where he also won his lone PBA Best Import Award.
No other import has won as many titles in the same conference during that decade.
Lamont Strothers (San Miguel Beermen)
Another nostalgia-inducing import, Lamont Strothers battled Chambers in the rugged 90s era and grabbed his moment at the turn of the millennia.
Strothers led San Miguel to the 1999 Governors’ Cup title against Alaska and Chambers. The American also grabbed the Best Import award in the process.
Strothers, who eventually capped his PBA career with 3,900 points, cemented his name in the Beermen franchise after leading sixth-seeded SMB to defend their Governors’ Cup in 2000.
Marqus Blakely (San Mig Coffee Mixers)
The Governors’ Cup was discontinued from 2004 to 2010 but more franchise favorite imports emerged when it came back.
Marqus Blakely entered the league in 2012 and immediately captured the hearts of Purefoods fans with his do-it-all mentality. Dubbed as “Mr. Everything,” Blakely willed San Mig Coffee to the 25th Season title after falling short in the finals the year before.
Blakely, also became one of the few imports to secure the Grand Slam in 2014 when the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers also successfully defended its Governors’ Cup.
Justin Brownlee (Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings)
It’s understating to say that Brownlee is having a legendary PBA career (emphasis on the present tense).
The recently-naturalized Filipino, started his PBA career in 2016 by becoming a local hero when he ended the eight-year championship slump of Barangay Ginebra. Not to mention, Brownlee did that with a booming triple as the championship buzzer sounded. Now that’s a fairy tale ending.
Only, it didn’t end there and it wasn’t a fairy tale as well because for Brownlee’s opponents, he is a living nightmare.
In seven years, Brownlee amassed six championships and has never lost a finals series.
The good news for Gin Kings fans is there’s more Brownlee to come in this year’s Governors’ Cup.