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Ginebra still looking for JB substitute

We’re close, we hope.

JUSTIN Brownlee, who starred in Gilas Pilipinas in the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games, will likely miss the PBA Commissioner’s Cup. | Photograph courtesy of PSC-POC Media Pool

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel head coach Tim Cone is on a working vacation in the United States where he attempts to put a deal in place for the Gin Kings’ replacement import for Justin Brownlee.

Cone told DAILY TRIBUNE that the Philippine Basketball Association’s most popular team has yet to sign up somebody who will see action when the Commissioner’s Cup gets going on 5 November.

But Cone shared the belief that Ginebra appears to be right on track in tapping a Plan B import since Brownlee could end up not being allowed to play owing to a doping case stemming from his stint in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou.

“We’re close, we hope,” wrote Cone in a Viber. “But nothing is final yet.”

While he is away, Cone is leaving the other facet of the squad’s buildup to his capable deputies,

Richard del Rosario, Olsen Racela and Freddie Abuda.

Still, Cone gets regular updates from the troika, making sure that when he gets back, everything’s going to be A-Okay.

Cone was allowed to take a breather as he has been coaching non-stop for almost a year now, shifting from being Ginebra’s tactician to Gilas Pilipinas deputy and lead strategist.

He started out as deputy to Chot Reyes in the previous window events leading to the FIBA World Cup before taking over the latter’s spot as head coach.

His crowning glory was when Cone steered Gilas to a gold medal performance in Hangzhou that put an end to the country’s 61-year gold drought in the Asiad.

Brownlee played a vital role in Gilas’ success but he later tested positive for a banned substance and this prompted Ginebra to come up with a fallback position.

Despite the findings on Brownlee’s sample, the gold medal was not taken away from the Philippines but the FIBA is likely to slap him with a suspension that will prevent him from playing even in the PBA.

As Ginebra hunts for Brownlee’s substitute, all 11 teams have already secured the services of their respective reinforcements.

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