By REYNALD MAGALLON
Naturalized Filipino Justin Brownlee and Fil-Australian Mason Amos are set for their Gilas Pilipinas debut when the Nationals seek revenge against Lebanon on Friday, Feb. 24.
Brownlee, who has been long considered for naturalization, is finally donning the Gilas jersey in front of an expected mammoth crowd at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan while Amos is making his senior’s debut after representing the country in the junior’s division.
Joining them are two returning players to the national team, the first being San Miguel big man June Mar Fajardo, who last played for the national team in the 31st Southeast Asian Games and in the 2019 World Cup in FIBA-sanctioned events, manning the middle in the absence of big men Kai Sotto and Japeth Aguilar.
The other was Gilas gunner Jordan Heading who is finally making his return to the national team after burying the hatchet with Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas following his decision to play overseas.
Joining them are players who have all been a part of the previous Gilas lineups in the past window led by Ginebra duo of Scottie Thompson and Jamie Malonzo, SMB’s CJ Perez, TNT’s Calvin Oftana along with B.League players Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, Ray Parks Jr. and Dwight Ramos.
Late addition to the pool Kelly Williams along with Meralco duo of Raymond Almazan and Chris Newsome joined young guns Schonny Winston, Kevin Quiambao Francis Lopez and Jerom Lastimosa as the final cut.