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Ginebra turns to Tony Bishop as Brownlee replacement

MANILA, Philippines -- Former Meralco Bolts import Tony Bishop has been tapped by Barangay Ginebra as the team’s import for the upcoming PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

This, while they are awaiting for the final status of longtime reinforcement Justin Brownlee, who was flagged by the International Testing Agency (ITA) for banned substances after the Asian Games.

In an interview with CNN Philippines Friday night, Ginebra head coach Tim Cone said that while waiting Brownlee's status, they have been searching for another import.

“We’re bringing in Tony Bishop, the ex-Meralco import that we played against in the finals a couple of years ago,” Cone said.

Bishop played for the Bolts in the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup.

He was the team’s reinforcement when Ginebra and Meralco battled it out in the conference’s finals, which the former won in six games.

“He’s a guy that we had such a tough time with, such a tough time defending  because he was so versatile and so level-headed. We couldn’t get under his skin,” Cone said.

“So, he’s just one of the first guys we thought about and we were fortunate that he was about to get ready to go to Mexico to be an import but we caught him just in time,” he added.

The 6-foot-8 forward, who has played in various leagues around the world throughout his 13-year career, is expected to arrive in the Philippines on Saturday.

“We’ll get to practice with him on Monday,” added Cone, who steered Gilas Pilipinas to the gold medal in the Asian Games.

Brownlee led Gilas to the Asiad gold earlier in the month, the country’s first in 61 years.

However, a few days after their gold medal finish, the ITA flagged Brownlee after testing positive for carboxy-THC, which is a substance linked to cannabis use.