Justin Brownlee, returning from surgery, scored seven of his 19 points in the fourth period to help Gilas Pilipinas gets past South Korean ballclub LG Sakers, 86-81, in their tuneup game Friday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
But it wasn’t just Brownlee who made it all possible for a team that is nursing hopes of doing well in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Late addition CJ Perez, a veteran of the FIBA World Cup, also made his presence felt during Gilas’ triumph.
Barely showing signs of discomfort following surgery that took out bone spurs on his foot, Brownlee, the beloved Barangay Ginebra import, displayed his fiery form in Gilas’ strong showing against the Korean Basketball League powerhouse.
Perez backed up Brownlee by chipping in eight points although several other players put up solid numbers.
Six-time Philippine Basketball Association Most valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, Calvin Oftana and Scottie Thompson, also wound up in double digits.
Newly-appointed Gilas head coach Tim Cone was satisfied with the outcome although he made it clear that the team played better in the first half.
“We moved the ball a lot and we had 14 assists in the first half. I thought we played better in the first than in the second and Justin got tired,” said Cone, who assumed the coaching chores from Chot Reyes.
Cone also stressed that he may have overused Brownlee and failed to manage his playing minutes.
Gilas opened strong with Fajardo drilling eight of his 16 points in the first period while Oftana knocked in seven straight points in the third that allowed them to take command.
Oftana ended with 13 points and 11 boards while Thompson, who didn’t live up to his billing during the World Cup, added 11.