MANILA, Philippines – Justin Brownlee came out of his maiden Gilas Pilipinas stint with memories that will last a lifetime.
Brownlee said he will treasure his first run with the national team just the same despite concluding a two-game stretch with a heartbreaking 91-90 loss to Jordan in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Monday, February 28.
“I had a lot of joy playing with the guys and representing the flag and putting the Philippines on my chest. It is a life memory that I’ll cherish,” said Brownlee.
“Even though we lost, we’re definitely going to learn a lot from this.”
Brownlee did not disappoint in his national team debut and posted 17 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals in a 107-96 win over Lebanon last February 24.
While he did not need to carry the scoring cudgels against the Lebanese, Brownlee took matters into his own hands as the Filipinos fought back from a massive 25-point deficit against the Jordanians.
The Barangay Ginebra import erupted for 29 of his 41 points in the second half and added 12 rebounds to give the Philippines a shot at the win, but they failed to close the deal no thanks to missed three-pointers and free throws.
Still, Brownlee can hold his head high as he and the entire team refused to give up.
“You see the will, and the energy, and the fight in the team. Filipino basketball is all about playing with heart and giving it all you’ve got. That is what we did,” he said.
“No matter if we were down or if we were up, we’re still going out there to play hard.”
Brownlee is expected to don the national colors anew as Gilas Pilipinas tries to reclaim its Southeast Asian Games throne in Cambodia in May. – Rappler.com
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