Justin Brownlee gets clearance to play for Gilas in FIBA ACQ

Justin Brownlee is returning to Gilas for the February window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. PSC-POC Media Pool (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Justin Brownlee gets to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the February window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas confirmed on Saturday that FIBA only slapped the Ginebra resident import with a "three-month period of ineligibility" after testing positive for a prohibited substance following Gilas' Asian Games gold medal conquest last October.

The "provisional suspension" began on Nov. 9 and will lapse on Feb. 8, exactly two weeks before Gilas swings into action.

With the ban spanning through all competitions, Brownlee never got to suit up for the Gin Kings in the PBA Commissioner's Cup and was replaced by Tony Bishop.

“I can’t wait to play basketball again and put all of this behind me. It’s always been an honor to represent the Philippines and I’m happy to be given the chance again,” Brownlee said.

“Justin Brownlee is a big part of the team and the program moving forward and having him means we can hit the ground running. He’s already played with most of the guys so chemistry will already be there. He can now ramp up his conditioning and be ready to go once his suspension is lifted,” Gilas head coach Tim Cone added.

SBP president Al Panlilio then quipped, “We’re elated that the consequences FIBA issued do not prevent Justin Brownlee to play for Gilas in the upcoming window. Having him as our naturalized player alongside some of our locals that he has already played with before will be beneficial to the squad.”

Gilas will first play Hong Kong on Feb. 22 on the road before traveling back to Pasig to host Chinese Taipei on Feb. 25.

With Brownlee also being part of Gilas' "four-year window" core, he is also expected to play for the national team in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments in Riga from July 2-7.

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