Justin Brownlee and Mason Amos made the Philippine Arena their new home as the two stood out in their debuts for the Philippine national men’s basketball team on Friday in the sixth and final window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Months after being part of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s championship campaign against the Bay Area Dragons, Brownlee posted 17 points to lift Gilas Pilipinas past the Wael Arakji-less Lebanon, 107-96, while Amos had 13 points in his first seniors game.
After ending the first quarter at 25-19 in the nationals’ favor, Gilas continued to pound early in the second frame as they extended their lead to 36-19 after a Ray Parks triple at the 8:00 mark capped a 13-0 run.
The nationals led by as much as 23, 90-67, before taking their sixth win in the Asian qualifiers. With the win, Gilas also exacted revenge for their 85-81 loss against the Cedars last August.
Gilas Pilipinas also waxed hot from rainbow country as they drilled at least 17 triples, with nine players making at least one trey for the win.
Aside from the Philippines, Lebanon and New Zealand from Group E have already qualified for the World Cup.
Gilas will face Jordan in their last qualifying game on Monday, still at the Bulacan venue.
The Philippines will host the World Cup, alongside Japan and Indonesia, in the last week of August.
—JMB, GMA Integrated News
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