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Tiebreaker Times

2023 FIBA World Cup

Brownlee can’t wait to face ex-teammate Arakji come Window 6


Justin Brownlee had been attending Gilas Pilipinas’ practice as the national team prepared for the fifth window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

On Monday, the 35-year-old who is in consideration to be one of the greatest imports to grace the Philippine Basketball Association had a special moment.

Brownlee joined Gilas’ first session for Window 6 as a full-fledged Filipino for the first time.2022-PBA-Commissioners-Cup-Finals-Game-7-Ginebra-vs-Bay-Area-Justin-Brownlee-2-scaled Brownlee can't wait to face ex-teammate Arakji come Window 6 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

“I guess it’s a little bit different now that I’m a part of the team now. I feel like I’m there now.

“Just really grateful for the opportunity and take advantage of it. Just not taking anything for granted and enjoying the moment,” Brownlee, who is part of the 24-man Gilas pool, told Tiebreaker Times.

There will be a lot of familiar faces in the pool for Brownlee.

Of course, there are his Ginebra teammates Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar, and Jamie Malonzo.

Then there are his opponents-turned-Gilas teammates like Chris Newsome, Raymond Almazan, Roger Pogoy, CJ Perez, June Mar Fajardo, and Calvin Oftana.

But who he is excited to see are the young guns of the pool — namely Jerom Lastimosa and Francis Lopez.

“It’s exciting to see what they can bring,” said the three-time Best Import.

In a month’s time, Gilas will be taking on the Cedars at the Philippine Arena.

Of course, there’s already bad blood between the Philippines and Lebanon, especially after the Cedars spoiled Jordan Clarkson’s FIBA debut last August 26.

Brownlee knows this.

But Brownlee also has ties with some members of the Lebanon team — particularly Wael Arakji and Amir Saoud.

#ReadMore  How will Munzon, Pasaol, Santillan, and Rike spend their P1.35M winnings?

Back in 2019, the 6-foot-5 native of Tifton, Georgia played for Al Riyadi in the Lebanese League.

There, he helped tow the Manara, Beirut-based squad to both the league and cup titles.

And he can’t wait to see those guys again, this time in Bulacan.

2023-FIBA-World-Cup-Asian-Qualifiers-Gilas-vs-Lebanon-Arakji-x-Clarkson Brownlee can't wait to face ex-teammate Arakji come Window 6 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

(C) FIBA.basketball

“It will be great to see my past teammates and all the players I faced when I was there. It’s a very talented group similar to the way we play which is a lot of heart. Can’t wait to see those guys,” he said.

“We’ll be greeting them with smiles but once the game starts, it’s going to be very competitive. It’s all fun and got a lot of love for the guys of Lebanon.”

For sure, Brownlee will be ready to show them what Filipino hospitability and hostilities are all about.

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