February 28, 2024

Jared Dillinger, Sol Mercado boldly defend Justin Brownlee on failed doping issue

Jared Dillinger, Sol Mercado boldly defend Justin Brownlee on failed doping issue
One Sports/Paolo del Rosario

Jared Dillinger and Sol Mercado got Justin Brownlee's back after their Barangay Ginebra San Miguel brother failed a doping test after leading Gilas Pilipinas to the gold medal in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.


Brownlee's urine sample was found to have traces of carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a specified prohibited substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino said the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is looking into Brownlee's medication and whether it contained traces of carboxy-THC, which is known to reduce inflammation. 


Dillinger and Mercado claimed that Brownlee likely very much needed that medication.


"I know Justin. I know him really well. He has a condition. So it's for medical reasons I'm going with," Mercado said during the pilot episode of the Coast to Coast Session of ClutchPoints Philippines' Let it Fly podcast.


"They need to understand, my boy got glaucoma," Mercado pointed out. "He got anxiety going into the game. He got a little anxious."


Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve, which is the cable that carries visual information from the eye to the brain, according to Glaucoma.org. Damage to this particular part of the eye could result in loss of vision.


THC has been used from as early as the 1970s to reduce intraocular pressure or fluid pressure inside the eye, according to the book "Marijuana as Medicine? The Science Behind the Controversy," as shared by the United States National Library of Medicine.


While THC does lower eye pressure, the duration lasts only for a few hours. Some studies have cited side effects such as drowsiness.


"It's not like he took something that's gonna help his game," Mercado noted. "If anything, it's gonna mess his game up."


Gilas Pilipinas team manager and Barangay Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua said they would not ask to test Brownlee's B sample anymore and instead would try to argue that he had to take THC for medical reasons. 


While Dillinger expressed that he is pro-THC, he couldn't help but point out that the Olympic Council of Asia, the organizer of the Asian Games, had a rulebook that specified that medical teams should check supplements and other medications against WADA's list of prohibited substances. 


RELATED STORY: Stringent process: How does the doping test work during Asian Games?

"I think in terms of that lane, he (Brownlee) shouldn't do it because that's the rules of these organizations," he said. "The other part is like, 'Look, it's not PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs), it doesn't affect sports, it doesn't affect this or that.' On the global sentiment on THC, no one gives a damn."


Dillinger is still on JB's side though.


"We're all about mental awareness in this day and age. So if things need to be addressed properly, you gotta use something to help calm your mental (state)," he said. "To each their own."