Ginebra's PBA Title Defense in Risk: Justin Brownlee's Positive Test at Asiad
Justin Brownlee, a resident import for Barangay Ginebra, may miss their PBA title defense owing to a failed drug test result at the recent Asian Games. The consequences of this positive test loom big as officials from both the PBA and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) deliberate on a possible appeal and carefully evaluate the ramifications.
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Unfortunately for Ginebra, any ban, if given, will not only affect future Gilas games but also Ginebra’s upcoming PBA Commissioner’s Cup defense, which begins on November 5.
Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino, president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), has stated that any doping punishment is communicated to the international organization, in this case, Fiba. In turn, Fiba alerts the national federation (SBP) for enforcement. Tolentino states, “Any suspension will be forwarded to Fiba, and the IF will forward it to SBP, so all games sanctioned by Fiba will be subject to an automatic ban.”
The PBA and SBP are currently in a bind as officials from both organizations meet to discuss the Brownlee issue. This topic is anticipated to dominate discussions at the Diamond Hotel for the season’s kickoff.
Brownlee’s positive test for Carboxy-THC, which is classed as a “substance of abuse unrelated to sports performance,” may result in a penalty ranging from one month to two years, depending on the appeals procedure. If the POC and SBP approve the outcome of a confirmatory test and ask Brownlee to participate in a ‘treatment program,’ the suspension might be shortened to one to three months under the WADA Code.
However, appealing the positive test increases the likelihood of a more extended punishment. The POC has until October 19 to submit an appeal, but any judgment should include Ginebra because Brownlee’s availability for the Gin Kings’ PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign is in jeopardy.
Aside from Ginebra’s campaign, Brownlee’s availability for Gilas in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July 2024 is also in jeopardy.
According to PBA sources, a first positive test for cannabis results in a two-game suspension under league regulations, a second offense results in a 45-game ban, and a third offense results in a lifetime ban. However, PBA authorities have stated that if Brownlee’s B sample likewise tests positive, Fiba’s sentence, rather than the league-mandated punishment, will be imposed.
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