MANILA, Philippines – If the historic run to the gold medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou is used as a barometer, Justin Brownlee may have ended any debate over which naturalized player Gilas Pilipinas will parade in the future.
“Oo naman,” said Gilas team manager Alfrancis Chua at the continental meeting, after being asked about the performance that may have cemented Brownlee’s case.
That has also caused many to look back and wonder if Brownlee would have been a better fit for the Fiba Basketball World Cup than Utah Jazz standout Jordan Clarkson.
Clarkson had a memorable performance for Gilas in the final World Cup match against China, which averted an embarrassing winless campaign at home.
But Chua said Brownlee has one thing that gives the Barangay Ginebra import an edge over Clarkson despite the latter’s NBA pedigree.
“Not only is he a good player, Justin is able to make his teammates better,” Chua said in Filipino. “He’s a team player, he understands basketball and he knows when to shoot.”
Brownlee’s incredible shots that saved Gilas from defeat to China in the Asian semi-finals and subsequent victory over Jordan for the gold further advanced his case as the most successful import in PBA history.
“They are now running ‘Justin for President’ because of their love for Justin. He doesn’t ask for anything, he just wants to win,” said Chua.