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FIBA: Gilas, led by Brownlee, dominate Chinese-Taipei in spectacular homecoming

In a highly anticipated comeback to the home court, Justin Brownlee, undeterred by his recent suspension, orchestrated a dazzling performance that underscored his unwavering commitment to the Philippines.

With the decorated Ginebra import leading the way, 10-man Gilas Pilipinas drubbed Chinese-Taipei, 106-53, to complete a sweep of Window 1 of the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers on Sunday at Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

Brownlee, who tallied 16 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and three steals in the Philippines’ 94-64 rout of Hong Kong last Thursday, produced 26 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and an assist much to the delight of the home crowd that missed him for the entirety of the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The 6-foot-7 Tifton, Georgia-born naturalized Filipino was unstoppable in the first half, dropping 13 points and seven rebounds at that point.

Brownlee and Kai Sotto were all over the place during the first 20 minutes of the contest, combining for 27 of Gilas’ 52 points while helping erect a 15-point lead.FIBA-Asia-Cup-Q-Kai-Sotto-2746 FIBA: Gilas, led by Brownlee, dominate Chinese-Taipei in spectacular homecoming Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

Sotto also wound up with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds to go with three blocks.

To start the third canto, Brownlee scored nine straight points to completely put Chinese-Taipei away.

Gilas’ kept growing and growing as the second went by, reaching a peak of 54 points late in the contest.

“I really like the way we worked. We worked hard on both sides of the floor and did that for 40 minutes,” said Gilas head coach Tim Cone.

The Philippines only suited up 10 players for the game — all putting up a bucket in the contest just like in last Thursday’s tilt.FIBA-Asia-Cup-Q-Coach-Tim-Cone-2527 FIBA: Gilas, led by Brownlee, dominate Chinese-Taipei in spectacular homecoming Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

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AJ Edu (meniscus), who was replaced by Japeth Aguilar, and June Mar Fajardo (calf) sat out the window while Jamie Malonzo sat out due to “gastroenteritis.”

Also scoring in double-digit were Calvin Oftana (13), Dwight Ramos (12), Carl Tamayo (11), and Kevin Quiambao (10).

Scottie Thompson glued things together, dishing nine of the Philippines’ 30 assists.

Up next for Gilas is the 2024 FIBA Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament which will be played in Riga. The Philippines is slotted in Group A along with Latvia and Georgia.

In the other game in Group B, New Zealand also went to 2-0 after ripping Hong Kong, 88-49.

Chinese-Taipei, on the other hand, will go back to the drawing board for Window 2, hosting Hong Kong on November 21 and New Zealand on the 24th.

Only Cheng Liu breached the double-digit barrier for the visitors with 13 points.

The Scores:

Philippines 106 – Brownlee 26, Sotto 18, Oftana 13, Ramos 12, Tamayo 11, Quiambao 10, Aguilar 8, Perez 4, Thompson 2, Newsome 2.

Chinese-Taipei 53 – Liu 13, Lin S 8, Wang 6, Hsieh Z 6, Chang 4, Lin CC 3, Lin B 3, Lin C 2, Hsieh Y 2, Gao 2, Yu 2, Chen 2.

Quarterscores: 26-13, 52-27, 82-41, 106-53

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