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2024 Summer Olympics

Justin Brownlee rallies Gilas with ‘next-man-up’ mentality for OQT


By: Ernest Tuazon

Justin Brownlee urged the 11-man Gilas Pilipinas team to adopt a next-man-up mentality ahead of the 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

After Gilas’ 74-64 win over the Taiwan Mustangs at Philsports Arena in their send-off friendly on Monday, Brownlee admitted that the team will miss the services of Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, and AJ Edu in their battle to book a ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Those three guys definitely bring a lot to the table and that’s definitely going to hurt us… We’re going to battle for those guys and play our game,” said Brownlee, who tallied a 12-point, 15-assist double-double against the Mustangs.

However, the 36-year-old forward remained confident as Ateneo big man Mason Amos and Gilas mainstay Japeth Aguilar are set to fill the void left by Malonzo and Edu.

Meanwhile, the absence of Scottie Thompson will be handled by Dwight Ramos, Chris Newsome, and CJ Perez.

Gilas-vs.-Taiwan-Justin-Brownlee Justin Brownlee rallies Gilas with 'next-man-up' mentality for OQT 2024 Summer Olympics Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

“Those three guys definitely bring a lot to the table and that’s definitely going to hurt us, but our backups got us. Mason coming on, and of course Japeth, who has been on Gilas for years now, adds a lot of experience for us,” Brownlee said.

World rankings do not faze Brownlee and Gilas heading into the OQT, as they all agreed that in order to book an Olympic ticket, they have to beat the best in the world.

Gilas Men are slotted with World No. 6 Latvia and No. 23 Georgia in the Riga tournament, where one of the last four tickets to the 2024 Paris Games is on the line.

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“It’s going to be very tough for us, but that’s why we’re here. We want to play against the best in the world, and if we want to be in the Olympics and qualify, we have to play against the best in the world,” Brownlee said.

“No matter if they are both ranked higher than us, we’re coming to represent the country in the right way and in the best way we can.”

2024-BCL-Asia-Pelita-Jaya-def-KCC-Egis-Justin-Brownlee Justin Brownlee rallies Gilas with 'next-man-up' mentality for OQT 2024 Summer Olympics Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

(c) FIBA.basketball

The Pelita Jaya import also recognized his experience in the Indonesian Basketball League for keeping him in shape for the upcoming OQT tilt.

Brownlee averaged 13.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.6 steals in his first season with Pelita Jaya.

“It’s been great for Pelita Jaya. It definitely kept me in shape. I’m definitely having a great time there. We have a great team in Indonesia, playing some international play in the BCL.”

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