Jul 08, 2024

FIBA OQT: Brownlee makes Riga All-Star Five

JUSTIN Brownlee proved that he belonged.

The Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player was included in the All-Star Five of the Riga FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament after showing the way for Gilas Pilipinas in reaching the semifinals of the event.

Brownlee, 36, averaged an all-around game of 23.0 points - a tournament best - 8.3 rebounds, and 6.3 assists while shooting 43.5 percent from deep.

He was joined in the All-Star Five list by Latvia's Rihards Lomazs, Jeremiah Hill of Cameroon, and the Brazil duo of Bruno Caboclo and Leo Meindl.

Caboclo, the former NBA player, was named tournament MVP after leading Brazil past Latvia, 94-69, to earn a berth to the Paris Olympics.

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Playing in his first FIBA Olympic qualifier, Brownlee played with fire in his eyes in the Philippines' stunning 89-80 win over world no. 6 Latvia in which he scored 26 points and had nine rebounds, and nine assists.

He followed it up with another near triple-double of 28 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists in a close 96-94 loss to Georgia, an outcome that didn't hinder the Philippines' march to the semifinals.

Unfortunately, Brownlee couldn't sustain his brilliant showing.

Brazil put the cuffs on the Gilas forward in the semis, holding him to just three points in the second half of a 71-60 win that denied the Philippines a spot in the finals. Brownlee finished with 15 points.

The resident import of Barangay Ginebra was disappointed with the way he played against Brazil.

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"I'm not proud of the way we played. I know I can play better and I feel like I let my teammates down by the way I played," said the three-time PBA Best Import. "Definitely, I'm not happy."

"But grateful for the opportunity though. It's just been an honor to come to this country (Latvia) and be able to showcase Filipino basketball. And I want to thank Latvia for that."

Brownlee is expected to suit up for Barangay Ginebra anew in the Governors' Cup which opens the Season 49 of the PBA in August.(RG)