Asian Games

Gilas gold stays amid Brownlee’s Asian Games drug issue

Delfin Dioquino

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Gilas gold stays amid Brownlee’s Asian Games drug issue

CHAMPS. Gilas Pilipinas players celebrate after winning the gold medal in the 19th Asian Games.

Marko Djurica/REUTERS

Gilas Pilipinas star Justin Brownlee faces a potential two-year suspension if his B-sample also tests positive for a substance linked to cannabis use

MANILA, Philippines – As things stand, the Asian Games gold medal stays with Gilas Pilipinas.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said on Friday, October 13, the country remains the Asian Games men’s basketball champion even after Justin Brownlee tested positive for a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The International Testing Agency (ITA) announced on Thursday that Brownlee tested positive for Carboxy-THC, a substance linked to cannabis use.

“We’re still the gold medalists,” Tolentino said in a mix of Filipino and English.

Under Article 11.2 of the 2023 Olympic Council of Asia Anti-Doping Rules, it is only when more than two members in a team sport are found to have committed an anti-doping violation that the Court of Arbitration for Sport Anti-Doping Division shall impose an appropriate sanction on the team.

Tolentino said the whole Gilas Pilipinas team got tested, as well as the entire squad of fellow finalist Jordan.

Only shooting guard Sami Bzai failed the test for Jordan.

According to the ITA, Brownlee has the right to request the analysis of his B-sample, which will be used to confirm or invalidate the result of his positive A-sample.

Brownlee faces a potential two-year suspension if his B-sample also returns a positive result.

Tolentino said he is in contact with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to determine the next steps on the matter.

Before the Asian Games, Brownlee underwent surgery to remove bone spurs in his foot in August as he got ruled out of the FIBA World Cup.

“They’re discussing if they’re going to appeal because he has a medical issue. That’s why he didn’t play in the World Cup, because he’s injured,” Tolentino said.

“I don’t know if his medication has components of THC. Maybe it’s cannabis oil or what. That’s what’s traced during the doping test after the final game,” Tolentino also told News5.

Brownlee is the second Filipino athlete to test positive for a banned substance in the Asian Games after cyclist Ariana Evangelista.

Evangalista tested positive for erythropoietin, a performance-enhancing drug. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.