By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
LOOKING to give their Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup campaign renewed boost, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings welcome back today old reliable import Justin Brownlee when they make their tournament return.
Led the Kings to consecutive Governors’ Cup titles in the last two years, Mr. Brownlee is being counted on to infuse the spark needed by Barangay Ginebra (1-3), something that original import Charles Garcia was not able to do.
Mr. Brownlee is coming off a successful stint in the ASEAN Basketball League where he helped Alab Pilipinas to the title along with now-San Miguel Beermen import Renaldo Balkman.
Marking his return, Mr. Brownlee will lead the Kings against familiar foes Meralco Bolts (3-2) in the 7 p.m. main game at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Bolts were the conquered of Mr. Brownlee and the Kings in each of the last two Governors’ Cup finals.
“Justin’s return is timely and we hope he can help us start winning consistently,” said Barangay Ginebra big man Greg Slaughter, who finished with 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks in their last game, a 103-98 loss to the Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters on May 20.
In what turned out to be his last game with the Kings, erstwhile import Garcia had a double-double of 19 points and 18 rebounds before fouling out against Phoenix.
Looking to spoil Mr. Brownlee’s return are the Bolts, who are angling as well to get back on the winning track after bowing down in their last game.
Meralco lost to the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, 91-89, on May 18 which effectively ended their winning run to two.
Import Arinze Onuaku had another all-around game of 23 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists but it proved not enough to tow his team over Magnolia.
In the first game at 4:30 p.m., the TNT KaTropa (4-1) take on the Columbian Dyip (3-3).
ON THE SIDELINES
Meanwhile, expecting to miss considerable time on the court after being slapped with an 18-month suspension by FIBA after failing a doping test, rookie Kiefer Ravena said he would just have to throw his support for his NLEX Road Warriors team on the sidelines for now.
“I’m so happy that I was able to watch the team play and I miss being out there with them especially in games like this one. I miss playing with the team but I’m happy that the team is supporting me. I’m still part of the family. I’m still part of the NLEX Road Warriors. I may not be out there but I will be there every step of the way just they are with me every step of the way,” said Mr. Ravena following NLEX’s 93-89 win over the Blackwater Elite on Wednesday.
Under the decision released by FIBA on May 22, Mr. Ravena, who also plays for the national team, is barred from competing in FIBA-sanctioned tournaments from Feb. 25, 2018 to Aug. 24, 2019 after failing a random drug test.
According to details of the ruling, Mr. Ravena tested positive for three ingredients prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), namely, 4-methylhexan-2-amine (methylhexaneamine), 1,3-dimethylbutylamine (DMBA), and higenamine, from urine samples taken from him after the Gilas game against Japan at the Mall of Asia Arena on Feb. 25 during the second window for the qualifiers in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Mr. Ravena said the substances were found in the pre-warm-up supplement he took.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas was quick to say though that the said substances are not illegal in the country and can be bought over the counter but are prohibited under the WADA list.