PHNOM PENH — He has had the most memorable of triumphs in the PBA but nothing compares to the high Justin Brownlee is feeling now.
Amid adverse conditions, the Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player struck gold in his Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) debut, helping his beloved Philippines redeem itself from the huge letdown in the previous edition and return as king of the region.
“I got to put this (SEAG win) at the top,” the six-time PBA champion said after leading the ramparts in Gilas’ atoning and vengeful 80-69 clincher over Cambodia and its phalanx of American imports.
“Playing for Ginebra is truly special but to represent and put on the Filipino jersey, there’s nothing like it. It’s an unbelievable feeling when you have the whole country behind you and wanting you to do great.
“You feed off their energy and you go out there and give it your all. I pride myself in leaving it on the floor each time and Filipino pride, that’s what this is all about. Win or lose we leave it all on the floor and whatever happens, we live with it,” he added.
Mr. Brownlee’s maiden SEAG was doubly hard as the heat and humidity in the poorly ventilated basketball venue had him dehydrated and cramping up, especially in the early stages of the tourney. Fortunately, through the help of Gilas staff, he was able to adapt and find ways to stay refreshed and hydrated.
If by any chance, he goes through similar conditions again, the three-time PBA Best Import said he’s ready to go. — Olmin Leyba