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Brownlee risks missing Ginebra's PBA title defense due to positive test

October 17 ------ WILL Barangay Ginebra suffer collateral damage from Justin Brownlee's positive test at the last Asian Games? That risk looms large as both PBA and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) officials discuss a possible appeal and weigh the repercussions of the drug test which Brownlee failed after the Asiad gold-medal game against Jordan. Unfortunately for Ginebra, any suspension, once handed down, will be enforced not just in future Gilas games but also in Ginebra's coming defense of its PBA Commissioner's Cup title beginning on November 5. Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham 'Bambol' Tolentino confirmed any doping suspension is forwarded to the international federation, in this case Fiba, which in turn notifies the national federation (SBP) for enforcement. Discussing the Brownlee case in Power and Play on Saturday, Tolentino said, "Any suspension will be forwarded to Fiba and the IF will forward it to SBP. so all games sanctioned by Fiba, antomatic ban 'yan."

A precedent case was Kiefer Ravena's 18-month ban after testing positive in a World Cup qualifier against Australia in 2018, which forced the star guard to sit out NLEX's games in the PBA for the duration of the Fiba suspension. That possibility has left the PBA and SBP in a dilemma as officials from both camps sit down on Tuesday to discuss the Brownlee case, which is expected to be the center of conversation in the season launch at the Diamond Hotel.

Under the WADA Code, Brownlee's positive test for Carboxy-THC - listed as a "substance of abuse that is unrelated to sports performance - can go anywhere from one month to as long as two years, depending on the appeal. If the POC and SBP after a confirmatory test accept the result and make Brownlee undergo a 'treatment program,' the ban could go down from one to three months under the WADA Code, officials said. However, contesting the positive test brings the risk of a longer suspension.

The POC has until October 19 to file an appeal, but any decision should involve Ginebra since Brownlee's availability for the Gin Kings' campaign in the PBA Commisisoner's Cup will be on the line. Aside from Ginebra's campaign, also at risk is Brownlee's availability for Gilas in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July 2024.



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