Justin Brownlee will be ready to embrace his role should he get the green light to reinforce Gilas Pilipinas in major international tournaments.
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel head coach Tim Cone vouched for Brownlee, saying that he will be a great addition to the national squad if ever his application for naturalization pushes through.
In a Senate inquiry, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio admitted that they are eyeing Brownlee and TNT Tropang Giga import Cameron Oliver to serve as naturalized players for various tourneys ahead.
Although Gilas Pilipinas already has Jordan Clarkson and Ange Kouame, they still want the 6-foot-6 Brownlee and 6-foot-8 Oliver to serve as reinforcements to help them in their international campaigns.
Cone said Brownlee can give the squad a lot of things on and off the court.
“The thing that Justin brings to a team is not just about great plays,” said Cone, who has been coaching Brownlee since 2016, in a telephone interview.
“We all know how a great player he is, but he brings great chemistry. He brings great leadership and teammates really love to play for him. That makes him special and oftentimes, different from other imports.”
Cone added that Brownlee’s is already a Filipino by heart.
“He really acts like a local,” said Cone, an assistant coach of Gilas Pilipinas.
“He plays like an import but acts like a local. That’s the key.”
Brownlee understands where he stands right now when it comes to the possibility of playing for the Philippine team.
Previously, he had an opportunity playing for Alab Pilipinas and winning a championship when he represented it in the Asean Basketball League.
He also saw action for Mighty Sports-Philippines in the Dubai International Basketball Tournament.
These are the closest things representing the Philippines in the international competitions, but Brownlee has an opportunity to become a Filipino by law if he becomes a naturalized player even when he’s taking the back seat to Clarkson.
“He understands he’s a back-up to Jordan Clarkson,” Cone said.
“He’ll be one of the back-ups. He accepted that and he loves the opportunity of being able to represent the country. He’s not going to play in the 2023 in the World Cup. It’s most likely be Jordan Clarkson at that point.”
“Maybe in the windows, when Jordan can’t be here. He might be the guy that fills the spot. But it could be somebody else’s, too. He knows he’s just a candidate at this point.”
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