POC chief: Basketball gold stays with Gilas, but Brownlee could face two-year ban

After Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player Justin Brownlee failed a substance test, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino assured that the country would retain the basketball gold at the 19th Asian Games.

In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News on Friday, Tolentino stated that despite Browlee’s failed substance test, the Philippines’ historic gold medal in men’s basketball at the continental sports event is staying with the real winner.

According to the head of the POC, the Anti-Doping Rule (ADR) stipulates that two or more athletes on a team must test positive for prohibited substances for the team to face a more severe sanction, such as disqualification.

“Based from the ADR rule, if it’s a team event you need more than 2 athletes na mag-positive. So since sa final list si Brownlee lang ang positive… e positive nga rin ‘yung isang Jordan e. Tabla lang din tayo. Atin pa rin ang gold,” explained Tolentino.

In Gilas’ case, it was only Brownlee who came out to be positive for the banned Carboxy-THC, the Lausanne-based International Testing Agency (ITA) said. Carboxy-THC is associated with marijuana use.

Additionally, he surmised that it could be due to the medication Brownlee took while recuperating from his injuries prior to the FIBA World Cup.

“Remember, Brownlee was injured before kaya ‘di sila nakalaro nung FIBA World Cup. When you’re injured, lahat naman tayong tao, you are having a medication. ‘Yun lang, hindi ko alam kung may nainom siyang konting bawal don or what,” he added.

Concerns about the country’s gold medal status were raised among Filipino basketball enthusiasts on Thursday evening when the ITA announced that Brownlee had failed the test.

On October 6, Brownlee scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Philippines defeated Jordan 70-60 in the men’s basketball championship. The Games concluded Sunday.

In the meantime, Tolentino disclosed that they have until October 19 to decide whether to attend the opening of sample B, which will determine the ITA’s final decision.

“If it’s positive again, they will put sanction, two years suspension on the athlete. If you want to appeal it, then, pag nalusutan, mayroon kang explanation, medical records, etc. I don’t want to preempt but they can still lower it to one or three months suspension max.”

Brownlee could face suspension from FIBA-sanctioned competitions if sample B also returns a positive result.

In the coming days, Tolentino will schedule a meeting with the Brgy. Ginebra resident import.

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