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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – This Southeast Asian Games gold medal shines a little brighter for Justin Brownlee than the rest of his precious hardware.
A winner of six PBA titles with Barangay Ginebra, Brownlee added another feather to his cap as he and Gilas Pilipinas reclaimed the SEA Games crown after an 80-69 win over Cambodia in the finals on Tuesday, May 16.
“I got to put this at the top,” said Brownlee while being draped with the Philippine flag.
“Playing for Ginebra is truly special. But representing and putting on this Pilipinas jersey, there’s nothing like it. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”
The way Gilas Pilipinas battled in this SEA Games made the feat more remarkable.
Brownlee endured dehydration and cramping due to the sweltering heat as he struggled earlier in the Philippines’ campaign, putting up just 10 points on a poor 3-of-13 shooting in a 79-68 loss to Cambodia in the group stage.
The three-time PBA Best Import, though, saved the best for last in the medal rounds.
He dropped 34 points with 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks as the Philippines dethroned Indonesia by way of an 84-76 semifinal win then put up 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists against Cambodia in the finale.
“When you got the whole country behind your back and supporting you, the more you do great and you just kind of feed of that energy and give it your all,” said Brownlee.
“I pride myself in giving it all out there and leaving it all on the floor, and like I said before, the Filipino pride, that’s what it’s all about.”
Brownlee said he is willing to go through anything when national pride is on the line.
“I’ll play in any type of environment as long as it doesn’t kill me. I love representing the Philippines. It’s been very special to me and my career and I’m ready to just going to keep repping the flag.” – Rappler.com