PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA — This time, Justin Brownlee, Gilas Pilipinas’ naturalized player, is happy to cherish the real thing.
The Barangay Ginebra resident reinforcement is looking forward to play in his first Southeast Asian Games basketball campaign and help Gilas in reclaiming the gold medal.
“I saw our world champion gymnast (Caloy Yulo) and I’m taking all in and enjoying the (SEA Games) experience,” said Brownlee while talking to a small group of sportswriters.
“I’m just happy to represent the Philippines and go out there and play.”
Four years ago, Brownlee could join Gilas as a practice player and he was given that opportunity by Tim Cone, his long-time coach at Ginebra, who at that time was the head coach of the Gilas team in 2019, the last time the country held the title as king of the region.
This time, Brownlee is ready to go and lead Gilas’ redemption campaign.
Last year, the Philippines saw its 28-year SEA Games reign came to an end when Indonesia dethroned the Filipinos as hard court kings.
Brownlee knows he needs to lead the mission.
“It’s unbelievable,” added Brownlee. “I doubted if this day would ever come that I could play for the Philippines in the international stage. Four years ago, I was just very excited to be at practice and being able to play with PBA players. But here now, it’s a great experience and I’m hoping for the best.”
Brownlee will join fellow Ginebra star Christian Standhardinger, Calvin Oftana of TNT, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross and CJ Perez of San Miguel, Arvin Tolentino of NorthPort, Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser of NLEX, Chris Newsome of Meralco and collegiate players Michael Phillips of La Salle, Mason Amos of Ateneo and Jerom Lastimosa of Adamson.