July 15, 2024

PBA exec to shoot for the stars, ask FIBA to let Justin Brownlee play as local for Gilas Pilipinas

PBA exec to shoot for the stars, ask FIBA to let Justin Brownlee play as local for Gilas Pilipinas

Ever since long-time Barangay Ginebra San Miguel import Justin Brownlee was naturalized as a Filipino back in January, fans have been speculating as to who will don the Gilas Pilipinas jersey in the FIBA World Cup in August since Jordan Clarkson is also considered by FIBA as a naturalized player.  

Some, like TNT Tropang Giga import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, say Gilas cannot go wrong with Clarkson, though Brownlee has certainly done more than enough to warrant that World Cup spot.

It is a hard decision to make, if anything. But what if both can play for Gilas?

That is the scenario PBA chairman and TNT executive Ricky Vargas is pining for as he hatches a plan to have Brownlee playing as a local in the hoops conclave to be co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia.

It is wishful thinking, but it appears Vargas, who is also a longstanding official of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, will shoot his shot nonetheless by appealing to FIBA to let Brownlee play as a local for the Philippines.

“It is Clarkson and Brownlee. It is ‘and not or,’ and it’s worth trying,” Vargas told sportswriters before the PBA board of governors’ planning session in France.

“He’s played the most part of his professional life in the Philippines,” explained Vargas as to why Brownlee should be given a special exemption by FIBA. “May heritage na, nandito na 'yung pamilya nya, baka pwede na siyang ma-consider na regular player and not a naturalized.”

It is yet unclear how Vargas intends to go about his plan, but it is ambitious to say the least.

Then again, there is nothing wrong with trying.

(With reports from Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star)

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