BOCAUE – Justin Brownlee's first two games with Gilas Pilipinas might not have ended the way he wanted it to be but the experience of playing for flag and country is definitely something he would cherish and not even a heartbreaker of a loss to Jordan could dampen his morale.
“I definitely enjoyed it. It was fun. Even though we lost, we definitely gonna learn a lot from this loss but I had a lot of joy playing with the guys and representing the flag and playing for the Philippines. It’s a life memory that I will cherish,” said Brownlee after Gilas Pilipinas split its assignments in the final window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers following a 91-90 loss to Jordan at the Philippine Arena.
Brownlee definitely lived up and personified the "puso" battlecry of Gilas when he almost singlehandedly willed the nationals back into the game and was even one field goal away from completing a huge 25-point comeback.
The resident Ginebra import poured 41 points – 29 in the second half as Gilas recovered from the huge deficit but still couldn’t get the job done in the end, allowing the Falcons to escape with the victory that left a good-sized crowd in the venue disappointed.
Still, the wasted effort seemed to hardly bother Brownlee although he admitted that the loss would be a huge lesson for the team especially after a disastrous first half when they allowed the hot-shooting Jordan to explode for 12 three-pointers and 60 points in two quarters alone.
“I think it was just the defense. Gotta give Jordan a lot of credit, they get some tough shots and they make some great plays. But I think if we contained them with our defense in the first half, the game would have a different outcome,” rued Brownlee.
Gilas got its groove going on both ends of the floor in the second half, particularly in the third quarter where the Filipinos outscored the Jordanians, 23-10, with Brownlee in the middle of that tear, drilling triples and finishing tough layups against the tall and hefty Jordan frontline.
Despite trailing by as many as 25 points, the nationals kept the game within their hands with Scottie Thompson and Ray Parks Jr. all having their chances in the end game but just couldn’t convert.
Nonetheless, it was a pretty all-around game for Brownlee who assured that it won’t be the last time he’ll be donning the national tri-color.
“Whatever I can help, I’m willing to bring help in each and every kind of way. It may not be playing sometime and I understand that and if it is, I’m here practicing with the team, to talk to the guys and start getting better in the best way I can and help in any way I can,” assured Brownlee.