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MANILA, Philippines – A stunning development suddenly puts the Philippines’ Asian Games basketball championship in question.
Gilas Pilipinas’ naturalized player Justin Brownlee, the hero in the country’s first Asian Games gold-medal romp since 1962, failed an “in-competition anti-doping” test, the International Testing Agency (ITA) announced late Thursday, October 12.
Brownlee, the team’s leading scorer in the continental games with 23.4 points, tested positive for Carboxy-THC, a prohibited substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency that is linked to cannabis use.
“The sample was collected by the ITA at the Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 during an in-competition anti-doping control performed on 7 October 2023,” the ITA said on its website.
“The athlete has been informed of the case. He has the right to request the analysis of the B-samples,” the statement continued.
Brownlee’s case will be elevated to the Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, for adjudication under the Olympic Council of Asia’s Anti-Doping Rules.
According to the ITA, the China Anti-Doping Agency was the “sample collection authority.”
Coming off a 36-point explosion in a quarterfinal escape against Iran, Brownlee played the game of his life as the Philippines stunned defending champion China in the semifinals to reach the gold-medal game for the first time since 1990.
Brownlee erupted for 17 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter of their miraculous 77-76 win over a stunned Chinese side that saw its title defense crushed despite enjoying a lead as big as 20 points.
The loss marked only the third time in Asian Games history China failed to reach the men’s basketball final, prompting Chinese fans to mock their own team after it also lost to the Philippines in the FIBA World Cup.
In the championship match, Brownlee unloaded 20 points and hauled down 10 rebounds in the Philippines’ 70-60 triumph against Jordan on October 6 — a day before the samples were collected.
China settled for bronze after crushing Chinese-Taipei, 101-73.
Sami Bzai, who played for basketball silver medalist Jordan, likewise tested positive for dehydrochloromethyl-testosterone metabolite, a non-specified prohibited substance.
During the Asian Games, Filipino cyclist Ariana Evangelista also got slapped with a “provisional suspension with immediate effect” after testing positive for a prohibited substance, erythropoietin, a performance-enhancing drug. — Rappler.com