GILAS Pilipinas is planning to field Justin Brownlee for the February window of the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) vice-president Ricky Vargas revealed the plan during the Senate committee hearing on the budget of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
“Meron po tayong window sa February. Gusto sana namin na maglaro si Brownlee kasi hindi puwede si [Jordan] Clarkson,” said Vargas.
The February window will see Gilas take on Lebanon, who dealt Gilas and Clarkson an 85-81 away defeat behind guard sensation Wael Arakji.
Aside from February 24 home game against Lebanon, the Philippines will also go up against Jordan on February 27 to finish off the World Cup qualifiers.
Brownlee has participated in the weekly Gilas practice for the November window, which will mostly have local players from San Miguel, Barangay Ginebra, and TNT filling the Gilas lineup under coach Chot Reyes.
However, Sen. Francis Tolentino revealed on Wednesday that the Senate can't expedite the naturalization of both Brownlee and Oliver since no application has been submitted to the two houses of Congress.
Tolentino is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice which will tackle the naturalization of the two Gilas prospects.
Vargas said the SBP plans to have a pool of naturalized players for future international tournaments, giving Gilas several options depending on the local players available for call-ups in the qualifiers and the World Cup proper.
“We are trying to naturalize as many as we can and dalawa ang gusto sana si Brownlee at si Cam. Pero hindi pa nakaka-decide kung sino talaga ang gagamitin namin pagdating ng World Cup.
"Ang listahan, we will be able to finalize it by March dahil hinihintay rin namin kung puwedeng sumama sila Kai [Sotto], dumating si AJ Edu, baka makakalaro rin si June Mar Fajardo, so meron na tayong mga big, baka naman ang tamang gawin namin is kunin si Clarkson.”
“At the same time, kung big naman ang kukunin namin, we are also looking at Cam. We just saw Cam play two games so we are hoping to see more of him,” said Vargas.