By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel is currently playing the waiting game regarding the fate of their resident import Justin Brownlee.
With the PBA season set to kick off this November 5, 2023, the Ginebra management will still explore their options if Brownlee will be barred from playing professional basketball after failing his drug test during the 2023 Asian Games.
Brownlee was still listed as the team’s official import in the upcoming Commissioner’s Cup but if the final verdict will slap him with a two-year ban, the Gin Kings might have to find a replacement reinforcement.
Last October 12, 2023, the International Testing Agency (ITA) revealed that Brownlee tested positive for Carboxy-THC after leading the Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team to a historic Asian Games gold medal finish.
The drug is widely prohibited in any professional sports tournament including the Asian Games which conducts strict testing to maintain the level of fairness in the competition.
According to the ITA, Brownlee’s samples were collected last October 7, 2023, during an in-competition anti-doping control.
It was headed by the China Anti-Doping Agency and will be later relayed to the Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport for adjudication under the OCA Anti-Doping rules.
Hours after the major development, the ITA also added that they already informed Brownlee about the results and would have the chance to appeal by requesting the A samples of his urine.
Brownlee will then be serving a two-year ban if the tests remain positive but Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino shared that they can find ways to reduce the sanction to three months.
As of now, Ginebra is yet to release a pool of names that can replace Brownlee and will have a short window of time before the PBA conference begins.