For foreign cagers who have to report immediately for their new ball club overseas, battling jetlag can be the toughest problem they face most of the time. And famed import Justin Brownlee is not an exception to that.
“I gotta admit, it’s a little difficult,” said the Tifton, Georgia-born cager.
The 29-year-old American had just flown back to the Philippines on Wednesday morning. But this time around, he isn’t here to suit up for mother team Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the Philippine Basketball Association.
Brownlee is here for a tour of duty with ASEAN Basketball League ball club Tanduay Alab Pilipinas. He made his debut later that night.
Like what he shared, it was tough to play while battling jetlag as he settled in the first half for eight points. Brownlee though came alive in the third frame.
Brownlee displayed his all-around brilliance with 29 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, three steals, and two blocks, steering the sophomore Filipino club team earn their second straight win at the expense of Westports Malaysia Dragons, 90-79.
“Just being jetlagged and coming in, playing with these guys without any practice but the guys made it easy for me and [Renaldo] Balkman,” said Brownlee moments after the match, all smiles after his rousing debut.
“They were very vocal, talking with us and it made our job easier on the court.”
But aside from praising his new teammates, what made Brownlee adjust easier with Tanduay Alab was the Filipino crowd that had trooped to the venue.
“The team is a great team, great group of guys.
“They went out there and played hard. It’s fun and exciting just being in front of the crowd and being back in the Philippines is very exciting for me,” said the two-time PBA champion.
“I have a personal experience with Justin Brownlee, both as a player and as a coach,” reflected head coach Jimmy Alapag. “I got burned twice – both times in the Finals. There’s no secret what type of player he is.
“Just really thankful that he’s here to play with Alab for this ABL Season. Really fortunate to have him.”
The crowd even showed him some love at one point in the match. When Brownlee nailed back-to-back three-pointers late in the third quarter that wiped out the Dragons’ 63-60 lead, the fans chanted “GI-NEB-RA!” afterwards.
“That was very special,” the Ginebra hero beamed.
“I’m here with Alab and this is a great team, great organization, great company, and have great sponsors but it feels great to hear that chant no matter where I’m at.”
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