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Pending final verdict on suspension, Justin Brownlee included in Gilas lineup for FIBA ACQ Feb window

Justin Brownlee is part of Gilas' lineup for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers even if there is uncertainty on whether he will be finally cleared to play or not. PSC-POC Media Pool (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Just as the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas officially announced that it is keeping Tim Cone to be Gilas Pilipinas' head coach, the organization also revealed that Justin Brownlee is part of what could be the final lineup that will play Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei in the February window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Brownlee is listed in the 12-man pool the SBP bared on Monday even if he has a pending anti-doping case stemming from his Asian Games stint.

Brownlee tested positive for a prohibited substance following Gilas' gold medal conquest last year in Hangzhou, China and was suspended provisionally.

Alfrancis Chua, the Gilas team manager during the Asian Games, said that the national team deferred from appealing Brownlee's case and accepted the sanctions that come along with the failed doping test, which spills through all competitions including the PBA, although it was never revealed how long the suspension will be.

Brownlee, Ginebra's resident import, was eventually replaced by Tony Bishop for the Commissioner's Cup, but he could only help the team reach the semifinals before getting dethroned as defending champion by San Miguel.

Brownlee was placed in the Gilas pool in hopes that the suspension would be lifted already.

Some projected that because Brownlee's case was not appealed, the ban would only last for three months, and it should have been lifted by now.

Familiar faces join Justin Brownlee in Gilas pool

Meanwhile, the SBP also called up Gin Kings Scottie Thompson and Jamie Malonzo, Beermen June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez, Meralco Bolt Chris Newsome, and TNT Tropang Giga's Calvin Oftana to the Gilas pool among the PBA players.

Backstopping them are Japan B.League Asian imports Dwight Ramos of Hokkaido, AJ Edu of Toyama, Kai Sotto of Yokohama, and free agent Carl Tamayo.

Reigning UAAP MVP and Dubai International Basketball Championship All-Tournament Team member Kevin Quiambao completes the 12.

Interestingly enough, both Malonzo and Edu are on the injury list.

Edu tore his meniscus last November and has yet to return to action.

Malonzo, on the other hand, also suffered a knee injury in Game 3 of the Ginebra-San Miguel series on Sunday night with the diagnosis still unknown.

Gilas will face Hong Kong on the road on Feb. 22 before hosting Chinese Taipei on Feb. 25 at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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