JUSTIN BROWNLEE’S clearance to play for Gilas Pilipinas brings back the impact the naturalized Filipino displayed with savvy and dominance during the Hangzhou Asian Games last year.
“More than a possible win with his presence in the lineup, he will present the Philippines in a way that will make all his countrymen proud,” national team head coach Tim Cone said. “He will set a standard in the program that will live long beyond his playing for the team.”
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas announced over the weekend that the International Basketball Federation has given Brownlee the green light to play in three upcoming crucial tournaments.
Brownlee was sanctioned after he tested positive for marijuana use after last October’s Hangzhou Asian Games where he keyed the Philippines’ decisive victory over China and gold medal triumph over Jordan.
“His return proves the impact he will have on the team,” Cone added.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino also stressed on the impact Brownlee—who also missed reinforcing Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the Philippine Basketball Association—brings to Gilas.
“It’s back to the drawing board for the Philippines on the qualifying for Paris,” Tolentino said. “His return means a lot to the Filipino people.”
Brownlee will be joining Cone’s Gilas squad in a FIBA Asia Cup qualifying window on February 22 against Hong Kong at the Tsuen Wan Stadium and Chinese-Taipei on February 25 at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
But the most important tournament will be the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Riga, Latvia, from July 2 to 7 where the Philippines will take on the host squad and Georgia in a Group A action.
Cone’s team is also composed of Scottie Thompson, Calvin Oftana, CJ Perez, Chris Newsome, June Mar Fajardo, Dwight Ramos, AJ Edu, Carl Tamayo, Kai Sotto and Kevin Quiambao.