With Gilas Pilipinas opting to suit up Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson as its naturalized player for the Fiba World Cup, Justin Brownlee now gets the time to recover from a medical procedure and be ready in time for the Asian Games.
Though still in some pain after bone spurs were removed from his ankle, Brownlee is making sure that he still puts in his part by regularly being on the sidelines during Gilas practices.
“Not really participating, but just watching [the practice]. Be there to support the guys,” Brownlee told the Inquirer.
“[The procedure] was quick and easy. Took maybe a couple of hours and now I can walk slow, minimum pain, but it’s good.”
Brownlee, the well-loved Barangay Ginebra import in the PBA, was instrumental in Gilas’ redemption quest in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games, where the Nationals reclaimed the gold medal against Cambodia.
And he is excited at the prospect of wearing the PH colors again in China.
“By the time the Asian Games comes, I’ll be ready.”
Having joined the team in its Euro training camp and more, Brownlee has high hopes for the team and is excited to see AJ Edu in action. Should Edu make the final roster, he could be playing against Dominican Republic and NBA big man Karl-Anthony Towns in the inaugurals on Aug. 25 at Philippine Arena.
Brownlee has seen the high-flying Rhenz Abando up close and likes him for the international game. He is also awed by Ginebra teammate Jamie Malonzo.
“Malonzo can definitely turn some heads. Guys like Ray Parks, CJ (Perez) Kiefer (Ravena) have already been there. June Mar (Fajardo) and Japeth (Aguilar) obviously they’ve been there as well,” Brownlee said, confident that all of them will play well.
Knowing that he won’t be playing, Brownlee is giving some words of encouragement instead.
“Give it your all. Of course it’s not gonna be all great times. There are some times we may be down. And we may be down big, maybe,” he said.
“But hopefully that won’t happen. But if it does, you gotta keep fighting, keep giving puso and just really go out and try not to leave none at the table and get the job [done].”
He ended by repeating his club team’s famous mantra that will also be his Philippine legacy.“Never say die.”
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