Three-time Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Best Import Awardee Justin Brownlee performed underwhelmingly, limited to 10 markers on 23% shooting in Gilas Pilipinas’ 68-79 loss against Cambodia. The defeat marred the hopes of the national roster of finishing at the top of group A as they look to ravage through the winless Singaporean front on Saturday, May 13.
Gilas Pilipinas found themselves trailing by double digits to the naturalized host nation roster, rallying to cut the deficit to 10 in the final minute. Despite their commendable efforts with Standhardinger and Newsome’s combined 25-point outing, the fledgling puso mentality faltered in the closing segments.
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Tensions riddled the court nearing its culmination, seeing a controversial timeout call by Coach Harry Savaya and performing the notorious Stephen Curry “night, night” gesture to the Philippine bench, with the win firmly clasped. Enraged by the display of unsportsmanlike conduct, Browlee’s PBA mentor and Gilas Assistant Coach Tim Cone relayed his disapproval towards the opposition’s antics.
Witnessing the poor performance by the national cagers, Head Coach Chot Reyes deems the loss as “inexcusable,” considering the need for all teams to adapt to the humid atmosphere of the Morodok Techo Stadium.
“There were players who were affected by the conditions, Justin Brownlee one of them, and there were too many slip-ups here and there. We just have to get over this. Prepare better, look at the hydration of the players, and move to the next match,” he tells Olympics.com.
The renowned PBA import felt “smothered,” limited to a mere 10.5 point average in the first two outings—the first being understandable, sitting early with the 45-point blowout against Malaysia. Although the recently naturalized stalwart has not peaked in international play, all eyes are on the Tifton, Georgia native, as the key to the promised land.
Looking forward, inconveniencies and glaring hurdles on the court riddle Gilas Pilipinas’ Southeast Asian Games campaign, yet it does not discount the talent-filled roster in reclaiming the throne.