April 14, 2024

SBP: Justin Brownlee cleared to play for Gilas Pilipinas

SBP: Justin Brownlee cleared to play for Gilas Pilipinas
Photo (c) Paolo del Rosario

Welcome back, Justin Noypi!

Justin Brownlee will be available to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) confirmed on Saturday, after FIBA handed down its decision regarding the anti-doping rule violation.

FIBA issued Brownlee a Notice of Charge carrying a proposed three month period of ineligibility. Brownlee has not played a game since Gilas Pilipinas won the gold medal in the 19th Asian Games back in October 2023.

"We’re elated that the consequences FIBA issued does not prevent Justin Brownlee to play for Gilas in the upcoming window," said SBP President Al Panlilio. "Having him as our naturalized player alongside some of our locals that he has already played with before will be beneficial to the squad."

  

Brownlee will be joining his Barangay Ginebra San Miguel teammates Scottie Thompson and Jamie Malonzo in the squad led by head coach Tim Cone and team manager Richard Del Rosario.

Chris Newsome, Calvin Oftana, CJ Perez, June Mar Fajardo, Dwight Ramos, AJ Edu, Carl Tamayo, Kai Sotto, and Kevin Quiambao complete the list of 12.

  

"Justin Brownlee is a big part of the team and the program moving forward and having him means we can hit the ground running," Cone shared. "He’s already played with most of the guys so chemistry will already be there. He can now ramp up his conditioning and be ready to go once his suspension is lifted."

Back in October, the International Testing Agency (ITA) announced Brownlee failed an anti-doping test in the 19th Asian Games. His sample had traces of carboxy-THC, a specified prohibited substance typically linked to cannabis.

To emphasize, this is not a performance-enhancing drug issue.

[READ MORE: Appeal & rights: What happens next after Justin Brownlee's failed doping test in Asian Games?

Brownlee was supposed to suit up for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the PBA Commissioner's Cup but the SBP cautioned him to stop playing in the meantime.

"We did guide Justin, 'don't play, stop playing for now.' And whatever decision that comes out, your time served started October 7,” Panlilio said on One PH's Power & Play last month.

They had submitted their case to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and were waiting for the FIBA decision.

[READ MORE: SBP hopes for resolution in Justin Brownlee's doping case

And just a few days ago, Cone said they could be receiving positive news.

"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," Cone said on Power & Play.

[ALSO READ: Tim Cone optimistic about Justin Brownlee’s FIBA availability for Gilas

"I can’t wait to play basketball again and put all of this behind me," said Brownlee in an SBP release. "It’s always been an honor to represent the Philippines and I’m happy to be given the chance again."

Gilas will face Hong Kong on February 22 at the Tsuen Wan Stadium and Chinese Taipei on February 25 at the PhilSports Arena. Tickets for the home game are already available via smtickets.com.

[ALSO READ: Gilas to host Chinese Taipei at PhilSports for FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers