Asian Games

Brownlee saves day as Gilas Pilipinas stuns China in comeback win to reach Asian Games final

Delfin Dioquino

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Brownlee saves day as Gilas Pilipinas stuns China in comeback win to reach Asian Games final

HERO. Justin Brownlee in action for Gilas Pilipinas against China in the 19th Asian Games.

PSC-POC Media Pool

Justin Brownlee takes over in the fourth quarter to catapult Gilas Pilipinas to the Asian Games final for the first time since 1990

MANILA, Philippines – Count on Justin Brownlee to work miracles.

Brownlee saved the day and propelled Gilas Pilipinas to the Asian Games final for the first time since 1990 with a come-from-behind 77-76 escape over host China at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre on Wednesday, October 4.

The three-time PBA Best Import sank all of his five treys in the fourth quarter and put up 33 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists as the Philippines completed its comeback from a 20-point hole to dethrone the eight-time champs.

China still led 76-67 with three minutes left before Brownlee scored the last 8 points in a 10-0 run capped by back-to-back booming three-pointers that silenced the loud home crowd.

Brownlee totaled 17 points in the final frame as he singlehandedly outscored Team Dragon, who were limited to 14 points in the period.

With 24 seconds to go, China took its time for a crack at the game-winner only to witness Zhang Zhenlin miss his midrange jumper.

The win guaranteed the Nationals their first medal in the continental showpiece since the Philippine Centennial Team bagged bronze in 1998, also won under current head coach Tim Cone.

Scottie Thompson backstopped Brownlee with 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals as the Philippines meets Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Jordan again, this time for the gold medal on Friday, October 6.

Jordan dealt Gilas Pilipinas its only loss of the Asian Games by way of a 25-point rout, 87-62, in the group stage.

CJ Perez put up 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, while June Mar Fajardo chimed in 8 points and 4 rebounds in the thrilling victory.

Kevin Alas also made his presence felt by scoring all of his 5 points in the fourth quarter as Gilas Pilipinas beat China for the second straight time after coasting to a 96-75 win in the FIBA World Cup in September.

Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson presided that World Cup rout for the Philippines by torching the Team Dragon on the back of a 34-point explosion.

This time, it was Brownlee who gave the Chinese nightmares.

Hounded by a box-and-one defense, Brownlee entered the break with just 6 points as China enjoyed a lead as big as 20 points, 48-28, largely thanks to a sizzling 57% shooting in the first half.

The hosts assisted on 11 of their 16 field goals in the first two quarters all the while putting the clamps on the Filipinos, who coughed up 10 turnovers by halftime.

It did not take long, though, for Brownlee to hit his offensive stride.

Brownlee scattered 10 points in the third quarter to help cut their deficit to 62-50 before he took his offensive exploits to the hilt in the last period, where he drained six of his eight field goals.

Zhao delivered 18 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals in the loss, while Hu Mingxuan, Zhu Junlong, and Wang Zhelin posted 10 points each.

China faces Chinese Taipei for the bronze.

The Scores

Philippines 77 – Brownlee 33, Thompson 13, Fajardo 8, Perez 8, Alas 5, Newsome 4, Oftana 4, Kouame 2, Ross 0, Lassiter 0, Aguilar 0. 

China 76 – Zhao R. 18, Hu M. 10, Zhu 10, Wang 10, Zhao J. 9, Hu J. 8, Du 6, Zhang 4, Cui 1, Cheng 0.

Quarters: 17-19, 30-48, 50-62, 77-76.


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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.