April 25, 2024

Tim Cone optimistic about Justin Brownlee’s FIBA availability for Gilas

Tim Cone optimistic about Justin Brownlee’s FIBA availability for Gilas
Photo (c) Paolo Del Rosario/Cignal

It’s been a while since PBA and Gilas Pilipinas fans got to see Justin Brownlee in action.

But that wait might soon be over as Gilas prepares for the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers, with the opening window set in February.

After being named as Gilas’ permanent head coach, Tim Cone also revealed his 12-man pool which included Brownlee.

But the three-time PBA Best Import tested positive for a cannabis compound shortly after leading the Gilas to the Asian Games gold medal in October, leading him to opt out of playing games for the moment.

 But according to Cone, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas may soon hear FIBA’s decision on Brownlee.

 “We do have Ange Kouame, who is in France and who could come over and play with us if it looks like Justin will be... [if] his suspension will go longer,” Cone said in an interview on One News’ The Big Story.

“But we're optimistic…that we'll hear within the next few days and we're optimistic...that he could very well be available for us and that's the plan at this point, that he'll be available for us in that first window,” he added.

Should Brownlee be available for the February window, this will prove to be a big boost indeed for the national team as they look to begin their FIBA campaign under Cone on a strong note.

Gilas is set to face Hong Kong on the road on February 22, followed by hosting Chinese Taipei on February 25.