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Kings ready sans JB

MANILA, Philippines — Though hoping for Justin Brownlee’s participation, Barangay Ginebra is ready to rise to the occasion in case its beloved resident import won’t be around for its PBA Commissioner’s Cup title defense.

Brownlee faces suspension after testing positive for Carboxy-THC (a compound in cannabis) during the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. International bodies have yet to hand down the sanction, which could range from one month to three months, and the Gin Kings deemed it best to look for a potential replacement already.

“We badly need him this coming season but hindi naman natin hawak ang kapalaran. All we can do now is constantly pray for Justin na sana maging okay ang lahat,” Ginebra star Scottie Thompson said.

“Mahirap, kasi si Justin, nakasama namin for how many years. Especially ako, ang dami na naming ups and downs ni Justin sa team. Nakakapanibago kung wala siya but we’re all professionals. We have to take what’s in front of us. We have to keep moving forward, no matter what happens, para sa Ginebra,” he added.

Thompson said the Gin Kings were shocked upon hearing the news of Brownlee’s doping issue on the heels of the celebrated Asiad triumph.

“Nakakagulat siyempre. After nung success, masaya na lahat then pag uwi dito may ganong balita. Mixed emotions - masaya ka at the same time malungkot ka dahil sa nangyari kay Justin.

“Sobrang kailangan namin siya and kailangan din namin mag-bounce back after nung natalo kami nung (Governors’ Cup) finals. I’m sure ang thinking din ni Justin, excited din siya to bounce back sa PBA.  After nung gold, maglalaro kami sa PBA na magkakasama,” the Season 46 MVP said.