Justin Brownlee was supposed to make his return to San Miguel Alab Pilipinas last February 19 in Kuala Lumpur, but he was nowhere to be found.
Maybe, he wanted to make his return on Philippine soil.
But last Sunday, Brownlee again was not at the Sta. Rosa Multi Purpose Sports Complex in Laguna when Alab faced Saigon.
This has left the Alab staff with questions regarding the commitment of the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup Best Import.
“After the Governors’ Cup, Justin agreed to play for us but he needed a break. In between his break, we got him a ticket. We were told that he was going to use his ticket, but it got rebooked several times. He’s had several times to board the plane,” shared Alab assistant coach Eric Menk in a video he posted on social media.
“We thought that he was going to be here last game, and we definitely thought he was going to be here in this game. But up until now, we heard stories that he was going to be at the airport; we heard stories that he was at the airport. But he has yet to board a plane and come back,” he continued.
“So, it’s unfortunate because we are depending on his word.”
Just like everyone else, Alab head coach Jimmy Alapag is in the dark on the status of the American import.
But for Alapag, Brownlee’s safety is his utmost priority.
“First and foremost, I just want to make sure that he’s okay back in the States. We really don’t know his status right now with the team.”
And it was a morale-boosting win for the short-handed squad, who also did not have Jeremiah Gray in the contest due to injury.
“To play with only eight healthy players and only two World Imports, it’s not ideal in the ABL, especially as we get ready for the top teams.”
In the next few days, Alapag is hoping for answers. As of now, however, all they can do is play the waiting game.
“We’re all hopeful, but that’s pretty much what we can do right now, and just try to continue to get better,” said the PBA legend. “That’s gonna be the challenge for us going to the playoffs in April.
“Those best-of-three series are dangerous, and if you’re going to the playoffs with the inconsistent type of game, you set yourself up in a bad situation. That’s going to be the key for us going forward — just finding consistency in our game. And a lot of that is in addressing the import situation, getting healthy, and hopefully, going to the playoffs with some momentum.”