Ever since arriving in the Philippines on July 21, 2016, Justin Brownlee has been in the country longer than he has been in his hometown of Tifton, Georgia.
After helping end Ginebra’s eight-year title drought in October of that year, he was tapped by Mighty Sports-Philippines for their 2017 Dubai International Basketball Championship campaign during the first quarter of 2017.
Instead of going back home after the tourney ended, Brownlee elected to stay over and train with the Gin Kings in preparation for the Commissioner’s Cup.
Even if he was the smallest import during the PBA’s second conference, he helped Ginebra take top seed but the Gin Kings bowed out in the semifinals.
The six-foot-seven American was able to find redemption in the Governors’ Cup, powering Ginebra to the top and retain the crown.
After spending the holidays back in the States, he got a call to replace Tanduay Alab Pilipinas World Import Reggie Okosa. He did not hesitate to say yes to Jimmy Alapag.
“It was a great opportunity and an honor to be able to play for a guy like him, as intelligent as he is and the type of player he was, he was a great player in the PBA for many years,” Brownlee shared about Alab’s head coach. “Playing for somebody like that with a lot of knowledge in basketball and also a great guy, it’s a blessing for me and my career.
“I’ll definitely take advantage of that.”
Even if he had just arrived in the country a few hours before their game against the Westsports Malaysia Dragons, Brownlee did not miss a beat, finishing the game with 29 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. Moreover, it resulted to a 90-79 win — Alab’s first home win for the season.
Besides having Alapag as head coach, Brownlee admitted that he has fallen in love with the Philippines and the Filipino people. And playing in front of them is what makes him come back.
“I love it here man. It’s the greatest place I’ve played in the world.
“You know playing in Europe and in the States for a couple of years but I just love it here and the fans are great,” expressed Brownlee. “They love me and I love them back. Whenever I have the opportunity to play, I’ll definitely try to see and take that opportunity.”
When asked about this, the 29-year-old opened with a joke.
“We need to talk to Gilas and tell them to sign me up for the national team. Just joking, just joking.”
No one laughed as everyone knew Brownlee will quickly respond to the call if it was made.