By: Rom Anzures
BOCAUE — In his first two games for Gilas Pilipinas, Justin Brownlee definitely was the show.
During his Gilas debut against Lebanon last Friday, the 6-foot-6 naturalized Filipino tallied 17 points, five assists, four rebounds, and two steals, leading the Philippines to a 107-96 victory over the Cedars.
Three days later, he just got hotter.
Brownlee was the force that powered Gilas against the Falcons of Jordan, single-handedly willing the hosts from a 25-point deficit. He ended up with an Asian Qualifiers-record-tying 41 points to go along with 12 rebounds, three assists, and a block.
Though the game ended up with a 91-90 loss, the six-time PBA champion import relished every single moment of it.
“You saw the will, the energy, and the fight in the team. Filipino basketball is all about playing with heart and giving it all you got so that’s what we did,” Ginebra’s resident import said after the game at the Philippine Arena here.
With his string of performances, many have said that the three-time Best Import in the PBA deserves to be in the FIBA World Cup team.
Yes, they are saying that Brownlee is more suited to the ‘Pinoy-style of play’ over Jordan Clarkson, who is a former NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
Brownlee though stressed that it does not matter to him if he gets lined up for the Worlds or not. What matters to him is how he can help Gilas for the global meet this August.
“Whatever I can help, I’ll be willing to bring help in each and every kind of way. It may not be playing sometimes and I understand that.”
Moreover, he can’t wait for the next time he will don the Gilas Pilipinas kits again.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the Southeast Asian Games, the Asian Games, the Asia Cup Qualifiers, or the World Cup itself.
“I definitely enjoyed it. It was fun. Even though we lost, we’re definitely gonna learn a lot from this loss,” he said.
“I had a lot of joy playing with the guys and representing the flag and putting Philippines on my chest. It’s a life memory that I will cherish.”