Two leading Philippine Basketball Association coaches weighed in on naturalized player Justin Brownlee’s doping case as the country awaits the outcome of another drug test in connection with the positive result released earlier by the International Testing Agency during the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games.
If Brownlee’s B-sample yields another positive result, would it mean that the playing career of the many-time PBA Best Import awardee has reached its end?
Interestingly, Rain or Shine taskmaster Yeng Guiao is unsure what’s next.
“That’s a natural question, any basketball fan would ask,” Guiao said.
“I don’t know who’s got the answer and I don’t know the repercussions or consequences.”
Jojo Lastimosa, Guiao’s former deputy coach at NLEX, who now serves as head coach and team manager of TNT, also poses a similar question.
“Will the PBA honor the doping body (of the Asian Games) or not?” Lastimosa said.
Brownlee was tested positive for cannabis, which is a banned substance under World Anti-Doping Agency during Gilas Pilipinas’ triumphant stint.
Curiously, Lastimosa’s former teammate at Alaska, Derrick Hamilton, and fellow import Ronnie Thompkins, were banned for life by the PBA for a similar finding in their samples many years ago.
Guiao has a first-hand experience with a player who got tested for a banned substance.
“I don’t know if this will be similar to the Kiefer Ravena case. But as a member of the PBA family, you’ll feel sad because you could see his great effort and how valuable they were for Gilas,” Guiao said, referring to the former Gilas cager who played for him when he was still calling the shots for NLEX.
Ravena was banned for 18 months by the PBA as it honored the ruling of the FIBA, the world governing body for the sport of basketball.
Guiao said that if Brownlee gets suspended, it will be “good for us in the short run’.
“He’s a major part of the Ginebra system…But I think he will be able to return and it’s something the team can recover from,” he added.
The Philippine Olympic Committee leadership had earlier declared that if Brownlee’s test came out positive, he would be banned by the FIBA and the POC would appeal the case.
While there are those who argue that the Asian Games is not under FIBA, raising speculations that Brownlee could escape being penalized, the PBA might be forced to acknowledge the FIBA’s ruling in case it cracks the whip on the player to avoid getting its ire.
The PBA regularly interacts with the FIBA given its players form the backbone of Gilas Pilipinas.