Brownlee on Gilas debut: I want to give the love back

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2023 11:15 PM

Justin Brownlee dazzles the crowd with treys and dunks as he led Gilas to victory over Lebanon. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

Justin Brownlee made sure his debut for Gilas Pilipinas would be special, one where he could give back to the fans the love they showered him.

The naturalized player from Barangay Ginebra led the Philippines to a 107-96 victory against Lebanon, kicking of the campaign with back-to-back triples that had his teammates surging.

"Just coming to play here with Gilas has been so much joy, you know. I'm just very blessed and lucky to be a part of the team," he said during the post-game press conference.

"It's just an honor to be able to put the Philippines on my chest, and play for the flag." 

The successive treys from Brownlee opened a shooting frenzy from Gilas, 17 triples to be exact as Jamie Malonzo, Jordan Heading Mason Amos and even June Mar Fajardo began hitting shots from the outside.

"Yeah, you know, when you make a shot, the crowd gets going. The Filipino fans, they really appreciate basketball, and that's what I really appreciate as well, too," said Brownlee.

"Being one of the older guys and one of the leaders, I just felt like it was important right off the jump, we be aggressive, and we have that mentality."

Brownlee, who secured his Filipino citizenship early this year, ended up scoring 17 points on top of five assists, four rebounds, and two steals.

They led by as much as 22 points against the Cedars who could not complete a comeback in the end.

"The Philippines shows so much love to me," said Brownlee. "I just wanna do my best and do whatever I can to try to give some of it back."