Justin Brownlee’s impressive display at the sixth and final window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers has turned a seeming no-brainer into a legit discussion: should the 3x PBA Best Import replace Jordan Clarkson in August?
In hindsight, it should have been an easy decision: Clarkson is an NBA talent who is averaging 20.9 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists for the 2023 season. In the fourth window of the Asian Qualifiers last August, Clarkson notched 25, 6, and 5 for Gilas, which won over Saudi Arabia and lost to Lebanon.
If instant offense is a concern for the Nationals, they need to look no further than the former Sixth Man of the Year.
However, Brownlee gets a nod for availability and team chemistry.
The naturalized player for Barangay Ginebra is currently gunning for his seventh PBA championship in the Governor’s Cup. His fellow teammates, Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, and Japeth Aguilar are also on the national team. He’s also familiar with the Gilas system, having trained under coach Chot Reyes while his Filipino citizenship was underway last year.
Like Clarkson, Brownlee also has a 1-1 record with Gilas; a win against Lebanon, where he notched 17 points, before exploding for 41 in a narrow loss to Jordan.
Reyes himself said there are no shoo-ins for spots in the national team, which plans to have a three-month preparation for the FIBA World Cup. “That goes for all the local players and even the naturalized players,” said Reyes to Rappler. The long-time coach also pointed out that Ateneo’s Ange Kouame, who is out with an injury, is also a naturalized player who remains an option.
Clarkson made it known last year that he will commit to Gilas at least six weeks before the World Cup.
With FIBA only allowing one naturalized player per national team, the debate rages on. Will it be Clarkson or Brownlee (or Kouame) for a roster spot? Peep the internet’s takes below.
Might be an unpopular opinion but at least in this level and at this point, Brownlee may be a better fit for Gilas than Clarkson. Yes we played a much weaker Lebanon team than the last, but JB fits the system, knows his teammates and doesn’t always need the ball to be effective.— Charles Tiu (@charlestiu) February 25, 2023
I love the Brownlee or Clarkson for the World Cup debate.— Diego Dario (@Diego5Dario) February 27, 2023
So many things to look at.
– Brownlee’s fit with the team (so far so good) and familiarity with the FIBA rules
– Clarkson’s proven ability to score against NBA level defense
– Who’s the better defender?
I will stick to what I initially said, I would keep BROWNLEE over CLARKSON. JUSTIN plays with his 100% effort the whole game and he already has the Filipino pride in him.— Chris Tan (@ChrisDTan) February 24, 2023
To everyone who was saying Gilas should use Brownlee over Clarkson in the World Cup, whats happening now in the 1st qtr vs Jordan is exactly when you need JC to take over. This shouldnt even be a question.— Jed Lim (@jedtiulim) February 27, 2023
“Clarkson or Brownlee?” It’s unfair to JC because we haven’t seen him train with Gilas. The team knows JB. Had Japeth been healthy, we’d have 4 Ginebra guys in there. 5 if you count Coach Tim. The Pg, Scottie, knows JB’s tendencies.— KKS (@kilikilishot) February 27, 2023
In the end, Justin Brownlee’s familiarity with the PH style of play, and ability to space the floor and play multiple positions make him a better fit for Gilas than the sheer offensive firepower that is Jordan Clarkson.— Dino Maragay (@dino_mars) February 24, 2023
Justin Brownlee or Jordan Clarkson for Team Gilas? I think Brownlee is a better fit. No disrespect to JC as he’s a heck of a player. JB is playing with the locals long enough though… chemistry is very important that’s why I think JB deserves it more.— Ian (@ian_viray) February 25, 2023
BROWNLEE>CLARKSON ANYTIME ANYDAY!— Benzi Kalsen Caracas (@benzkalsen) February 27, 2023
Someone asked me in office today,Clarkson or Brownlee?— S.Tan (@bgk_angel) February 26, 2023
My take ?B comes before C
I love Brownlee. But the Worldcup is a different animal.— CHAOS McBlur💨 (@McBlur2) February 24, 2023
Brownlee is a machine gun.
Jordan Clarkson is a bazooka.
Clarkson can carry and is almost as good as any of the best international players. Can’t say the same for JBL.
hopeful that we have both of them tho. https://t.co/Qg2ttnelje