MANILA, Philippines—Coach Tim Cone admitted that Justin Brownlee’s positive doping test after Gilas Pilipinas’ Asian Games gold conquest came as an absolute surprise for him.
Cone, who steered the Philippines to the historic victory that ended a 61-year drought, said there was no indication after Gilas’ win in Hangzhou, China last month that could’ve hinted that Brownlee was going to end up failing the doping test.
“It kind of blows our mind, and Justin was shocked by it as well. It’s there, it’s done, we can’t bring it back,” said the Ginebra coach in an interview with CNN’s Sports Desk.
“I remember we were having a post-game dinner and we were all waiting for Justin and Calvin (Oftana) because they were left behind at the stadium. They were the ones selected to be randomly tested. We waited two to three hours for them to show up, but we had no clue that anything was going to happen at that point.”
Traces of Carboxy-THC–which is linked to cannabis use according to reports, were found in Brownlee’s system, the International Testing Agency announced last October 13.
Whether or not the Gin Kings’ resident import took THC before the continental meet was not in Cone’s knowledge.
“I don’t know where it could’ve happened. It wasn’t a performance-enhancing drug, an anabolic steroid, or anything like that. There’s no way that he could bring that kind of stuff in China since he’s gonna get in trouble for trying to do that,” explained the veteran tactician.
Brownlee was provisionally suspended from basketball, ruling him out of Ginebra’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign. Gilas Pilipinas, though, kept its gold medal.
When asked about Brownlee’s fate moving forward, Cone said that he has no inside knowledge on the matter.
“Your guess is as good as mine… I know that the SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas) and SMC (San Miguel Corporation) are trying their very best to give him the legal support he needs to shorten or remove the possible suspension.
“In the meantime, we have searched out another import, we’re bringing in Tony Bishop.”
Bishop will have time to gel for the Gin Kings as their Season 48 run begins on Nov. 17, Friday, at Araneta Coliseum.