NATURALIZED player candidate Justin Brownlee was among the interested spectators during Gilas Pilipinas' tune-up game against Mighty Sports on Monday night.
The Barangay Ginebra import arrived at the Meralco Gym in a casual white shirt and playing shorts during the second half of the match that ended in an 85-85 draw after Gilas overcame a late six-point deficit.
The popular import has been vocal in his desire to play for the Philippine team, but said he watched the game to likewise support Mighty Sports and close friend and former Alab Pilipinas teammate Renaldo Balkman.
“I just came to watch and support Gilas Pilipinas and Mighty Sports, where I played there before,” he said. “I just came to support both teams and see a good game."
Brownlee last played for Mighty Sports during the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship earlier this year.
But asked about his ‘future national teammates,’ Brownlee’s eyes lighted up.
“I hope so, I wish so,” he said. “The naturalization still haven’t been through, but hopefully soon.”
Brownlee was left impressed with the progress Gilas Pilipinas had made despite practicing again with an incomplete team.
“They’re very talented. They can do more things. They’ve got guys who can shoot, they’ve got inside players, athletic players, players who can go out there and defend,” he said. “The World Cup, when it’s time for them to go and play, I think they’re going to be pretty good.”
The former Best Import and three-time PBA champion was also thrilled to see Marcio Lassiter and CJ Perez hit three-pointers that levelled the score in the end.
“Man, did you see Lassiter, and that last shot by CJ, that was impressive. They’ve got some good shooters out there,” he said.
Brownlee wished both teams played an five extra minutes to determine the winner.
“I wish I could have seen an overtime. Tied game,” he said. “It’s kinda like a great movie but with a bad ending. It’s really a good game, very competitive especially at the end.”