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MANILA, Philippines – The effort and commitment of naturalized player Justin Brownlee to Gilas Pilipinas will not go for naught.
Brownlee will reinforce the national team in the Asian Games after NBA player Jordan Clarkson committed to represent the Philippines in its co-hosting of the FIBA World Cup starting on August 25.
Head coach Chot Reyes said Brownlee has no issues with the development despite spending the last two months rigorously training with Gilas Pilipinas, including a three-week buildup in Europe.
“Very professionally,” Reyes said when asked how Brownlee took the news. “When he joined us, when he signed up for this, he knew that he was signing up as a back up.”
“He has no issues at all. He came in, he knew that he is going to do everything he can to help the team prepare while Jordan is not here. At the same time, being the backup in case Jordan could not come.”
The plan moving forward for Brownlee is for him to be in tiptop form by the time the Asian Games kicks off in September in China as he deals with ankle bone spurs, which have kept him from fully participating in recent practices.
Brownlee did not attend practice on Wednesday, July 26, at the Meralco Gym in Pasig.
“We have decided with the medical staff and the coaching staff to have Justin take care of the bone spurs in his ankle so he’ll be ready for the Asian Games,” said Reyes.
“He is not here with us now because we want him to be a hundred percent for the Asian Games.”
Gilas Pilipinas expects to have Clarkson on board for over two weeks before the World Cup as he is set to join the team in China on August 6.
There, the Filipinos will take part in a pocket tournament against World Cup-bound squads Lebanon and Iran and African side Senegal.
“We are preparing as best we can so that when Jordan comes, we are able to ramp up and accelerate that preparation to be able to get to near a hundred percent in the 18 days he is going to be with us,” said Reyes. – Rappler.com