Gilas' Justin Brownlee relished father’s role during hiatus

Gilas’ Justin Brownlee relished father’s role during hiatus

/ 05:10 AM March 31, 2024

Justin Brownlee Gilas son

Gilas Pilipinas’ Justin Brownlee (left) with son —DENISON REY A. DALUPANG

Justin Brownlee has been called many things throughout his time in the Philippines. He has been called a king by Barangay Ginebra’s diehard followers, and a hero by fans of a national program that has been yearning for a place on the international stage.

He has been those for quite a while now. But when a flunked doping test threatened to strip him of the game that has brought him around the world and given him a prosperous life, Brownlee found a chance to become something he hasn’t been able to be while plying his trade away from home.

“That’s the most enjoyable moment throughout my whole break—watching Jye and Justin (Jr.) play basketball,” he told the Inquirer with a wide smile.


READ: Brownlee hopes to create more ‘moments [to] cherish’ with Gilas

‘Follow in my footsteps’

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/

“I definitely want them to follow in my footsteps when it comes to basketball. Whenever you see that in your kids, it’s like seeing a reflection of yourself. It’s something you truly enjoy. You want to see them do good and great.”

Brownlee went back to the United States throughout his Asian Games episode, keeping himself away from the public eye. The only times he was active on social media was when he was sharing Instagram stories of his whip getting tricked out and him cheering his two sons playing hoops.

His eldest son, 12-year-old Justin Jr., has been a fixture in Ginebra games, even goofing around the team’s utility staff and even members of the PBA Press Corps. The youngest, 6-year-old Jye, could be most remembered by Filipino fans by rooting for Brownlee’s Meralco counterpart Tony Bishop. Jr. during the Governors’ Cup championship series two years ago.


READ: Justin Brownlee makes case as Gilas’ best option in future

“It’s like reliving your childhood through them,” the soft-spoken forward said of his moment with his kids. “Not to be selfish, you know, but it really felt great.”


Brownlee said it was one of the few things—aside from the Filipinos’ unwavering love and the basketball leaders’ support—that kept him afloat throughout his self-imposed ban.

“That was the most joy I had and it kind of uplifted my spirit, it got me wanting to be back to playing and grew a hunger in me,” he said. “That definitely helped out a ton, for sure.”

Brownlee is now back on his feet. He has been named a cornerstone in Tim Cone’s long-haul Gilas Pilipinas squad that looks to return to the Fiba World Cup in Qatar, and hopefully make the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

With the PBA still playing its All-Filipino tournament, Brownlee is currently plying his trade in a neighboring country, backstopping Pelita Jaya in the Indonesian Basketball League. He was solid in his debut, finishing with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks in an 85-67 rout of opposing Rans Simba.

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Brownlee is expected to return to Manila around June, just before Cone, his braintrust, and the 11 other Gilas standouts huddle for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Riga where the Nationals play World No. 6 Latvia and 23-ranked Georgia in the group phase.

TAGS: Gilas Pilipinas, justin brownlee

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