Justin Brownlee suffers busted lip during intense Gilas practice
MANILA, Philippines–The Philippines is hard at work preparing for the Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
With naturalized Filipino Justin Brownlee back from a quick break, the Nationals held an intense practice at Meralco Gym in Pasig City.
A total of 13 players were in attendance, including Jeremiah Gray and Sean Anthony, a Gilas pioneer who is helping out in training.
“People are still out there battling for life parang tryout. So none of the players really know whether they’re gonna be on (the roster) or not. They’re playing high energy, going at it,” assistant coach Tim Cone said on behalf of national mentor Chot Reyes who was trying to catch a meeting.
So cutthroat was the two-hour practice that Brownlee even suffered a big cut on his upper lip. He had to be sent to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City to have his wound stitched.
Brownlee, who is shaping up as this Gilas Redeem Team’s foremost weapon, collided with Arvin Tolentino’s left elbow during a five-on-five simulation.
“I was dizzy at first, especially when I was trying to get up. But I’m OK. It’s part of it all,” the beloved Barangay Ginebra import told the Inquirer before heading for the hospital.
Gilas has also ruled out Japeth Aguilar on Friday in a bid to preserve him for the Basketball World Cup this August.
Aguilar, like June Mar Fajardo, has been nursing knee problems.
Missing Friday’s session are TNT’s Calvin Oftana, who has been placed under health and safety protocols, and CJ Perez, who attended to family matters.
Gilas Pilipinas is scheduled to set up camp at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, this Sunday before flying to Cambodia on May 6.
The Philippines is looking to reclaim the basketball gold it once held for 33 years. Gilas is grouped with Malaysia, Singapore, and host Cambodia in the group phase of the competition that gets going on May 9.