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Waiting for FIBA

Gilas naturalized player Justin Brownlee is still in Los Angeles waiting for FIBA’s decision on the duration of his expected suspension after testing positive for a cannabis compound following the Philippines’ win for the Asian Games men’s basketball gold in Hangzhou last month.

Apparently, the decision is taking longer than usual because the Asian Games aren’t under FIBA’s direct jurisdiction and use the facilities of the Lausanne-based International Testing Agency (ITA) facilities for doping analysis. Asian Games eligibility, for instance, isn’t aligned with FIBA. But playing rules, officials and technical operating procedures are. So the process involves the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), which governs the Asian Games. After ITA confirms a positive doping finding, OCA informs the relevant international federation which then issues the appropriate sanction.

It appears that SBP won’t appeal whatever is FIBA’s decision. In fact, SBP waived its right to request for a test of Brownlee’s second sample. Two urine samples were taken from Brownlee after the final game and the first tested positive, leading to an ITA announcement of the result. If SBP asked for a test of the second sample and a similar finding was the result, it could mean a harsher penalty.

FIBA employs World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-accredited labs while ITA is an IOC initiative to create a unified anti-doping program. ITA was tapped during the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. FIBA, FIFA and World Athletics are international federations with advanced anti-doping platforms. SBP received a notice from FIBA last week advising that ITA has forwarded Brownlee’s result. “No notice of suspension yet, just notice of result,” said SBP’s Erika Dy who is also FIBA’s legal commission chair.

Brownlee’s suspension is inevitable even as cannabis use is not outlawed by the NBA. Effectivity is crucial. In some cases, effectivity starts from the extraction of the samples and with Brownlee, that was Oct. 6. In most cases, effectivity begins from when the athlete or the pertinent national federation is informed of the result and that was Oct. 12. In FIBA’s latest penalty on cannabis use, USA’s Jordan Bell was slapped a