Brownlee fails doping test, but POC says Gilas’ Asian Games gold stays
MANILA, Philippines–Justin Brownlee, who starred in Gilas Pilipinas’ unlikely run to its first Asian Games basketball gold since 1962, has failed a doping test, the International Testing Agency (ITA) said Thursday.
But the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) on Friday issued a statement guaranteeing that Gilas’ gold medal result in the continental meet stands.
“The gold remains with us,” POC chief Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said.
Brownlee, a naturalized player for the Philippines, tested positive for the banned Carboxy-THC, ITA said. Carboxy-THC is linked to cannabis use.
He was tested on October 7 after Gilas Pilipinas’ gold medal victory on October 6 in Hangzhou, China.
“The sample was collected by the ITA at the Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 during an in-competition anti-doping control performed on 7 October 2023,” the ITA said in a statement.
“The athlete has been informed of the case. He has the right to request the analysis of the B-samples.”
Gold stays with Gilas
Tolentino cited Article 11.2 of the Anti-Doping Rule of the International Olympic Committee which outlined the consequences of a positive doping test in team sports, such as basketball.
“If more than two members of a team in a Team Sport are found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation during an Event Period, the ruling body of the Event shall impose an appropriate sanction on the team (e.g., loss of points, Disqualification from a Competition or Event, or other sanction) in addition to any Consequences imposed upon the individual Athletes committing the anti-doping rule violation,” the article read.
The POC also said that Brownlee has until October 19 to appeal the results of his A sample “through appropriate procedures set by the IOC, ITA and the World Anti-Doping Agency.”
Other Gilas players “have also been tested,” according to the POC.
“All Brownlee needs is to prove his innocence in contesting the result if he allows testing his B Sample,” Tolentino said.
However, if Brownlee’s B sample also tests positive, a two-year suspension from basketball will be meted out.
Gilas Pilipinas beat Jordan 70-60 in the men’s basketball final with Brownlee pouring in 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Brownlee was undoubtedly the hero of the Filipino team’s campaign in the Asian Games, led by his longtime PBA coach Tim Cone.
The Ginebra import propelled Gilas to a stunning comeback against China in the semifinals, where he scored 17 points in the final period including the game-clinching three with 24 seconds left.
Brownlee is set to join the Gin Kings in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup next month.
In a separate announcement, the ITA said that Sami Bzai from Gilas’ final opponent Jordan had tested positive for a banned steroid.
He also has the right to request the analysis of the B-samples.
It takes the total number of known doping cases at the Asian Games, which ended on Sunday, to 10.
This includes another Filipino athlete in female mountain biker Ariana Evangelista, who tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO), which performance-enhancing substance. She has since denied any wrongdoing. –With reports from Agence France-Presse