Brownlee proud of Gilas stand in Olympic qualifier

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Brownlee proud of Gilas stand in Olympic qualifier
Justin Brownlee

MANILA, Philippines -- Despite missing out on the final bus to Paris, Gilas Pilipinas star Justin Brownlee said he is grateful for the opportunity to fight for the Philippines in the recently concluded FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).

The Philippines suffered a 71-60 loss to Brazil in the semifinals of the OQT, which signaled the end of a fairy tale run that saw Gilas blow out Latvia on their home floor, before going toe-to-toe and eventually losing to Georgia.

Brazil went on to win the OQT in Riga and punch its ticket to the Olympics.

Brownlee, after the game, said that he “did not have a really good game” against Brazil.

The 36-year-old forward had his worst performance against Brazil, scoring 15 points while shooting 5-of-16 from the field.

“I'm not proud of the way I played. I didn't have a really good game. I know I can play better and I feel like I let my teammates down by the way I played today,” he said.

“So definitely, [I am] not happy. Grateful for the opportunity though. It's just been an honor to come here to this country and be able to showcase Filipino basketball and I want to thank Latvia for that,” he added.

Brownlee was named among the tournament’s All-Star Five, along with Brazil’s Leo Meindl and Bruno Caboclo, Cameroon’s Jeremiah Hill and Latvia’s Rihards Lomazs.

He averaged 23 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game.

For his part, Gilas guard Chris Newsome said that even though the Philippines came up short of making it to the Olympics, he is hoping that Filipinos were proud.

“I still believe that we went out there and represented you all well. We’re doing our best to go out there and play with pride and honor and we’re doing it all for you guys,” he said.

“This is just a blessing to be a part of this, and hopefully we can make it to the Olympics. It was not this year, but there is always next time that we can give it another go,” he added.

“Again, we have so much more work to be done and so much that we could improve on to get there.”

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