Justin Brownlee hardly misses beat in Gilas return

Justin Brownlee hardly misses beat in Gilas return

/ 11:22 AM February 26, 2024

Justin Brownlee Gilas Pilipinas vs Chinese Taipei Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers

Gilas Pilipinas’ Justin Brownlee during a game against Chinese Taipei in the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—It’s been 10 long months since Justin Brownlee played a game in the country.

And it sure didn’t feel like Brownlee missed a beat back in his “home soil.”

Brownlee led the cavalry for Gilas Pilipinas as they put on a masterclass in a 106-53 whipping of Chinese Taipei in the Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers at Philsports Arena in Pasig City on Sunday.

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“It feels great being back on home soil here in the Philippines. Having played in front of a home crowd has been wild. It feels great to hear the cheers and energy they bring and of course, their passion has been unbelievable,” said Brownlee, the longtime Ginebra import, who was coming off a three-month suspension due to a failed doping test.

READ: Gilas flaunts youth movement in win over Chinese Taipei

Brownlee dominated with 26 points and 13 rebounds as Gilas swept the first window of the qualifiers.

Prior to the game against Chinese Taipei, Brownlee last played in the Philippines back in April 2023 when the Gin Kings lost to the TNT Tropang Giga in Game 6 of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.

Gilas Justin Brownlee

Justin Brownlee leads Gilas Pilipinas anew in the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

“I gotta be honest, I was a little down but coming here and seeing these fans showing great support has really cheered me up,” said Brownlee,  “I’m on that high again as far as being excited and it just feels great.”

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The 6-foot-6 Brownlee said his familiarity playing under coach Tim Cone made it easier for him to perform as well as he did.

READ: Tim Cone marvels at return of Gilas’ lifeblood’ Justin Brownlee

“I’m used to his coaching, style, everything. I know his system. it’s definitely comfortable for me to play with him,” Brownlee said of Cone, who is also his coach at Ginebra.

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The 35-year-old Brownlee is also set to return for Ginebra which makes its 2024 PBA Governors’ Cup debut on March 8 against Rain or Shine.

“I just really want to stay in game shape and don’t want to take too much time off.”

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