MANILA, Philippines — Even Gilas Pilipinas coach Tim Cone couldn’t stop marveling at Justin Brownlee’s amazing clutch plays that propelled Gilas Pilipinas to the gold medal match of the 19th Asian Games.
Brownlee unleashed 17 points in the final quarter including the go-ahead triple with 24 seconds left as Gilas Pilipinas completed a come-from-behind 77-76 win over defending champion and host China on Wednesday.
“What a miracle that was, man. I mean, truly it’s just a miracle. I can’t even imagine that it happened that way,” Cone told One Sports after the win. “The guys just kept battling and battling and Justin started just getting, you know, it’s like the first quarter of Iran all over again. It’s just we did it in the fourth quarter on his third straight day of playing. He was able to step up and make those shots. That is amazing. “
Cone, who was appointed as the national team’s interim coach for the Asiam Games following the exit of Chot Reyes after the Fiba World Cup, lauded the naturalized Barangay Ginebra star’s resilience in front of an ecstatic Chinese crowd amid his injury.
“Amazing! Great character to follow that up after the Iran game. He stunned the crowd. Really stunned the crowd. He stunned China–they didn’t know what to do,” he said.
The winningest PBA coach also praised Kevin Alas, who scored all of his five points down the stretch to keep China within striking distance before Brownlee’s heroics. He shared that it was his assistant coaches LA Tenorio and Richard Del Rosario who suggested fielding the NLEX point guard.
“I thought Kevin did a great job. Kevin came out and played some really key minutes early and midway through the fourth… He can create some stuff for us. He’s really the best creator in the team off the dribble, off the ball,” said Cone.
Cone, who won the 1998 Asian Games bronze medal with the centennial team, has a chance to deliver the country’s first gold in Asian Games basketball in 61 years when they take on Jordan on Friday.
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