Justin Brownlee has finally caught up with the rest of Gilas Pilipinas after arriving in Tallinn, Estonia’s capital city, on Monday, June 26.
Through its social media pages, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas displayed photographs of Brownlee finally joining the national team practice for the first time since assisting the Philippines regain the gold medal at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games last May.
The Brgy. Ginebra resident import was scheduled to join the early buildup of Gilas at the Meralco Gym in Pasig and the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna, but his stint with the team was delayed due to a “non-basketball medical procedure.”
Brownlee then travelled alone to Estonia to meet the rest of the Nationals, who were in the midst of intensive preparations for their pair of exhibition games against Estonia and Finland.
The 35-year-old, 3-time Best Import awardee’s arrival is a welcome boost for Gilas, who embarked on their European tour with a slim roster lead by June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar.
Rhenz Abando, Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, Dwight Ramos, Scottie Thompson, Chris Newsome, Jamie Malonzo, Poy Erram, AJ Edu, and CJ Perez are also with the team.
Ange Kouame, a naturalized player like Brownlee, will enter the pool in Estonia at a later date, as he must attend his graduation ceremonies at Ateneo on June 30.
Brownlee and Kouame are naturalized players, along with Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson, who has yet to provide an official date for when he can join the Gilas preparations due to his NBA free agency status.
Kai Sotto, who has been invited to play for the Orlando Magic’s Summer League team, is attempting to break into basketball’s biggest stage.