They were in the zone and stayed there for a while.
To beat China on its home turf during the semifinals of the Asian Games, Gilas Pilipinas needed to do something special. Answering that call was Justin Brownlee as he whipped up a magical fourth quarter to lead the Philippines to an incredible comeback win.
Brownlee finished with 33 huge points, built on the back of seven three-pointers, including five in the fourth quarter.
JB went supernova from beyond the arc and witnessing it unfold got us to ask: Where does it rank among other memorable three-point shooting displays in Gilas Pilipinas' recent history?
5. Gary David vs Kazakhstan - 2013 FIBA Asia Championship
Fans will forever remember the tournament for Gilas Pilipinas’ dramatic win over South Korea in the semifinals. But none of it would’ve happened had Gary David not exploded for 22 points against Kazakhstan. Struggling all tournament long, El Granada found his touch in the quarterfinal stage with four triples. The total may not be as staggering (Jeff Chan made five three-pointers against Jordan), but with the way David was bricking in previous games, his long overdue explosion became quite memorable.
4. Dondon Hontiveros vs Japan – 2015 FIBA Asia Championship
Gilas Pilipinas met a highly determined Japanese crew, led by Makoto Hiejima, in the semifinals of the tournament. It seemed like the Akatsuki Five were peaking at the right time. But the Philippines unleashed its human flame thrower in Hontiveros. Scattering six three-pointers, including a huge one with less than a minute and a half to go, the Cebuano Hotshot helped Gilas Pilipinas pull away from its stubborn Asian rival. All of Hontiveros’ 18 points came from his 6-of-9 clip from deep.
3. Andray Blatche vs Kazakhstan - 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers
The weather in Kazakhstan in February of 2019 was -10 degrees. Nonetheless, Gilas Pilipinas’ naturalized player Andray Blatche remained hot as he nailed five three-pointers out of 10 attempts en route to a 41-point outing. His dominant showing helped the national team clinch its second straight FIBA World Cup appearance. Blatche also added 13 rebounds and four steals. Dray was a bad man back in the day. And by bad, we mean really, really good.
2. Jordan Clarkson vs China - 2023 FIBA World Cup
In essence, Clarkson saved Gilas Pilipinas’ campaign in the FIBA World Cup. With a last chance to get a win on the game’s grandest stage, the Utah Jazz bucket-getter stepped up and put on an electrifying third quarter, wherein he drained five straight three-balls in a span of three minutes. In that period alone, JC outscored China, 24 to 11. Clarkson’s 34-point outburst led to a 21-point win, which ultimately became Gilas Pilipinas’ ticket to the upcoming FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.
1. Justin Brownlee vs China – 2023 Asian Games
The number one spot belongs to Justin Noypi. Gilas appeared to be down for the count against China in the semifinals on Wednesday. But hey, Brownlee decided that he’d be Superman for a day. In the final period, the 35-year-old forward went five-of-five from long distance—the last two being back-to-back filthy, cold-blooded daggers. In the end, Brownlee ended the Philippines’ 49-year drought versus China in the Asian Games. JB has a knack for knocking down game-winning three-pointers.
Considering the magnitude of the game and the manner in which he did it, the crown definitely belongs to Brownlee. Gilas Pilipinas will need him to be on fire again this Friday as they face Jordan for the gold medal.
Catch the action at 8 p.m. live on One Sports, One Sports+, or the Pilipinas Live app.