National team head coach Yeng Guiao is open to tapping the services of Justin Brownlee as Gilas Pilipinas’ naturalized player in the future.
Guiao bared the intriguing recourse Monday night following the Philippines’ gut-wrenching loss to Iran in the fifth window of the Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers that sent the Filipinos staggering to fourth place in Group F.
“One option is Brownlee. His papers [for naturalization] are already in Congress and that’s an option that we can consider,” Guiao said.
The Philippines won’t play until February 21 next year in an away game against Qatar before wrapping up its campaign in the qualifiers when it visits Kazakhstan three days later. Both games are must win for Gilas if it is to book a ticket to China for the 2019 Basketball World Cup.
Guiao said Brownlee could make it by then if Congress will expedite the papers.
“If they will push for it then, maybe he can make it on time and we can use him,” he said. “The other thing is we naturalize just one player or naturalize two like what we did with Stanley and Christian. We can choose depending on needs and situations. Those are the options.”
“Not that serious but like I said, knowing what we know now. We’re waiting, expanding our options and that is an immediate option we can exercise,” he added.
In the event that Brownlee is made available creates a good problem for Guiao with the longtime Ginebra import joining the likes of Christian Standhardinger, Stanley Pringle and Andray Blatche as Gilas’ naturalized players.
Guiao managed to get the best out of Pringle and Standhardinger in the games against Kazakhstan and Iran, respectively.
Pringle delivered 29 points for Gilas against the Kazakhs while Standhardinger posted 17 points and eight rebounds against the Iranians.
Blatche was left out of the 20-man pool for the fifth window but Guiao cleared the former NBA veteran “can always be considered.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.