|After seven years, Ira Brown will be playing in the Philippines again. Dennis Acosta|
By Ivan Saldajeno
PASAY--Casual Filipino basketball fans may be only hearing the name Ira Brown for the first time.
But if you're following the PBA for quite some time, you may have been aware of him.
The six-foot-four forward already played in the top flight cagefest, suiting up for San Miguel during the 2011 Commissioner's Cup.
On Saturday night, during Japan's practice at the Mall of Asia Arena for its game against Gilas the night after, Brown finally got to step to a Philippine hardwood again.
"It is good to be back," said Brown.
Recalling his two-game stint with the Beermen, he said, "I had a great time when I was here, it was a great experience. I have friends here that still live here. I love the PBA fans here, they are hostile as you said and very loud. I’m looking forward to playing in front of everybody again."
During his time with SMB, Dorian Pena was the team's main big man, but on Sunday night, when he returns to the said arena, Brown will face off with the current face of the franchise, Junemar Fajardo.
"It would be great to see those guys and finally run into them."
"He is very skilled," Brown said of the 6-foot-10 beanpole, who has made an impression so far in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers. "I just have to outwork him and beat him to his spots and not let him get comfortable when he catches it low in the post. Other than that, I think I will be fine."
So how does the Ryukyu Golden King find Japanese basketball compared to the Filipino style?
"Here in the Philippines, basketball is far more physical. It’s how we like it over here. But there in Japan, the players are a bit more skilled and detailed when it comes to things. Here, it is more like get up and down, be athletic and imports like their everything-type of deal when I played here," Brown answered. "It is just different basketball, it is much more physical here and it translates overall when you play internationally."
With Japan's back against the wall entering its showdown against Gilas, a known Asian basketball powerhouse, Brown anticipates Gilas to go hard on his squad.
"I am looking forward to it extremely," he continued. "Hopefully, we can turn it around and win an important game tomorrow."
In conclusion, the 35-year-old veteran said that he is open to make a PBA comeback.
"I’m fairly solidified there in Japan but who knows anything can happen at any time. We’ll see," Brown said.
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