Tim Cone marvels at return of Gilas' 'lifeblood' Justin Brownlee

Tim Cone marvels at return of Gilas ‘lifeblood’ Justin Brownlee

/ 08:45 PM February 23, 2024

Justin Brownlee Gilas Pilipinas

Gilas Pilipinas’ Justin Brownlee in the Philippines’ game against Hong Kong in the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers. –FIBA

MANILA, Philippines—Justin Brownlee showed a little bit of rust to begin Gilas Pilipinas’ 2025 Fiba Asia Cup Qualifier campaign but coach Tim Cone showed no doubt whatsoever.

After the national team’s  94-64 trouncing of Hong Kong at Tsuen Wan Stadium on Thursday night, Cone admitted that he saw Brownlee struggle early in the game but he decided to stick with the naturalized player.

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“He really struggled at the beginning of the game. You can tell he had rust, he hasn’t played a game in four months so he had a lot of rust to brush off,” said the Ginebra mentor during the post-game press conference.

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SCHEDULE: Gilas at Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers window 1

“That’s why we continued to play him in the fourth. I told the bench we’ll keep Justin in there so he can continue to get his rhythm so it was great to see him in the second half get his rhythm and be the Justin we know.”

The long-time Gin Kings import had only nine points in the opening half against the home best but he was able to shift to another level come the second half.

Gilas Pilipinas coach Tim Cone Fiba

Gilas Pilipinas coach Tim Cone. –FIBA PHOTO

Brownlee ended the game as the top scorer with an all-around effort of 16 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals.

He also flaunted his shooting prowess anew with an efficient 50 percent shooting clip, sinking six of his 12 tries from the field.

When asked if Brownlee’s comeback surprised Cone, the coach emphasized how good the 35-year-old has always been, despite the three-month suspension after the 2022 Asian Games.

READ: Well-rested Justin Brownlee raring to go for Gilas

“We know how good he is, how good of a teammate he is and he’s the lifeblood of this team. We’re happy that he’s back and we think he’ll play better against Taiwan and as we go forward,” Cone said.

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“He has that history. He has that pedigree already.”

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Brownlee will play in the Philippines for the first time since winning the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup with Ginebra on Sunday as Gilas faces Chinese Taipei.

TAGS: Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers, Gilas Pilipinas, justin brownlee, Tim Cone

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