JUSTIN Brownlee is fully aware that he will be a second fiddle as far as being a naturalized player of Gilas Pilipinas is concerned.
Regardless, Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone said he is excited about what lies ahead of his import now that he has officially become a Filipino via naturalization after the bill was signed by President Marcos Jr.
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“The journey is still ongoing for Justin,” said Cone. “This is an end-to-end for him. He is going to a whole new level playing internationally playing for the national team. I know he is excited about that.”
Cone said Brownlee is willing to help the Philippine team in any capacity, even if he’ll be cut eventually once Jordan Clarkson is available, particularly for the Fiba Basketball World Cup which the country will jointly host with Japan and Indonesia.
Brownlee will most likely be the Gilas’ option as the lone naturalized player in other tournaments that Clarkson will be unavailable.
“Again, I want to emphasize. He understands that he is a back-up to Jordan Clarkson and (if) Jordan is available, he will most likely be the guy. But Justin is just so happy and honored for the opportunity to represent the country and to play.”
Cone said he expects Brownlee to play a major role in the national team with the several tournaments still lined up aside from the Fiba Basketball World Cup where Clarkson won't be available.
Brownlee is expected to suit up for Gilas Pilipinas during the Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia in May where the country will look to regain the gold.
Cone said he has no doubt that Brownlee will definitely represent the Philippines well with how he conducts himself on and off the court.
“To me, this is not the end for him. This is still the beginning for him. He is still got a whole career ahead of him playing for the national team. I think that’s so special. He is special guy. He deserves it. He is not only a great guy but he is great representative.
"He is going to represent the Philippines very well and the way he carries himself, with the way he plays the game, the way he acts with his teammates, and the way that he competes. He is going to be an example.
"That’s why I’m so proud to have him in the national team,” said Cone.