Ira Brown "energized" by crowd in PH return

Ira Brown "energized" by crowd in PH return

Former San Miguel import Ira Brown goes for a shot against the current face of the franchise, Junemar Fajardo. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--In his first game back in the Philippines, Ira Brown quickly felt what he missed during his first foray here.

A full house crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena was what the former San Miguel import witnessed once he stepped foot to the said venue as a member of the Japanese national team in its FIBA World Cup Qualifiers clash with Gilas Pilipinas.

"I love how loud it is here," Brown said on Sunday night.

Brown made a good account of himself for Team Japan, tallying 16 points, eight rebounds, one assist, three steals, and one block, and he credited that to the raucous crowd, despite most of them booing and jeering him.

"It is something I thrived for because it gives me energy, especially because I played here in the PBA also," he continued.

Unfortunately, his performance was not enough to lift Japan over Gilas as the latter escaped with a hard-fought 89-84 win.

[Related Story: Gilas averts disaster after sluggish start, downs Japan]

"I think we kinda let our guard down once their bench players came in and their bench players were effective coming in and bringing the energy up," Brown rued, pertaining to the point when Japan blew an early 20-4 lead. "I think that’s what gave them the momentum to come back in the game."

However, he also took responsibility for his struggles from the free throw line that somehow spelled doom for Japan as well.

"Me missing eight free throws, two out of ten, is dismal," he further rued. "You can’t do that if you want to beat a team, especially on the road. You got to be better than that."

Despite the loss, he cherished his first game in the country since 2011.

"It is great to come back and play here in the Philippines," Brown concluded.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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