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Pinoy at heart

‘Knowing Justin the way I do, he will continue to help in any way Coach Chot (Reyes) wants. He’s always ready to help and support.’

Loved and adored by Barangay Ginebra fans, Justin Brownlee has become endeared to basketball-crazy Filipinos for being the best ambassador among reinforcements.

Although there’s no drip of Filipino blood flowing through Brownlee’s veins, he still gained the love and affection of the Filipinos for representing Gilas Pilipinas in the international arena.

He is always ready to serve, ready to put on Gilas Pilipinas’ blue and white jersey whenever there’s a call.

He has been making a great sacrifice for the past four years, or since Ginebra coach Tim Cone called the shots for Gilas in the 30th Southeast Asian Games that Manila hosted in 2019.

He has been working out with the national squad even without a guaranteed spot. That’s why when his naturalization process was finally completed last year, he took the chance of suiting up in the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers and the 32nd SEA Games.

In the preparation for the FIBA Basketball World Cup, he has been going hard despite the bone spurs on his foot that has been nagging him for the past four years.

He is a guy who doesn’t complain. He keeps on playing despite being banged-up or dehydrated just so that his team will win.

No wonder, fans want him to be part of the team even if his role is just a back-up for National Basketball Association standout Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz.

In fact, he could have undergone foot operation last year but he opted to prioritize the call of duty.

Brownlee, who set several milestones in the Philippine Basketball Association, would just simply shake off injuries so that he can focus on helping his team win.

Even before Clarkson committed to play for Gilas and rejoin the team on 6 August in China, Brownlee was still delaying plans of undergoing surgery so that he would be ready just in case Gilas needed him for the World Cup.

But with Clarkson getting on board in the next few weeks, Brownlee can now take a breather, recharge and have his foot taken care of before he plunges to yet another battle in the 19th Asian Games.

No one can question Brownlee’s dedication.

“Knowing Justin the way I do, he will continue to help in any way Coach Chot (Reyes) wants. He’s always ready to help and support,” Cone said.

There are lots of reasons not to show love and support to Brownlee.

The moniker Justin Noypi suits him to perfection and more than loving the culture, he is now becoming one of us.

Truly, he is Pinoy at heart.

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