MANILA – The 19th Asian Games men's basketball gold medal will not be taken away from the Philippines despite the failed doping test of naturalized player Justin Brownlee.
In a news release on Friday, the International Testing Agency (ITA), mandated by the Olympic Council of Asia to independently handle areas of the anti-doping program at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, said only Brownlee and Sami Bzai of silver medalist Jordan returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for a prohibited substance.
"It was revealed that as no other basketball players from either the Philippines or Jordan had returned an AAF, the team results are not to be disqualified," the news release said.
The samples were collected by the ITA during an in-competition anti-doping control on Oct 7, the day after the gold-medal match.
Brownlee scored 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as the Philippines defeated Jordan, 70-60.
It was the Philippines' first basketball gold in 61 years, after sweeping the first four editions.
The Sample Collection Authority was the China Anti-Doping Agency.
Both athletes were informed of the case and have the right to request the analysis of the B-samples.
The matter will thereafter be referred to the Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration of Sport for adjudication under the OCA Anti-Doping Rules.
"Given that the case is underway, there will be no further comments during the ongoing proceeding," the ITA said.
Up for appeal
Senator Jinggoy Estrada said Brownlee's doping allegations are still under investigation and can still be appealed.
"It might be too early to form any opinions or judgments until more details become available," Estrada said in a statement.
"As of now, there are certain mechanisms available for our sports officials and Mr. Justin Brownlee to appeal his case, and I am optimistic that they will take the necessary steps to address his current situation," he added.
Estrada recently filed Senate Resolution No. 823 commending Gilas Pilipinas players, saying that their historic victory in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China deserves to be celebrated and merits the highest commendation from the Senate.
He said a copy of the resolution would be given to each of the team members of Gilas Pilipinas.
Last year, Senators Estrada, Christopher Lawrence Go, Ronald dela Rosa, Sonny Angara, and Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva pushed the measure seeking to grant Brownlee Filipino citizenship.
In a separate statement, Senator Francis Tolentino, who sponsored the measure, said he is not convinced that Brownlee is using any illegal substance.
"It is better to wait for the outcome of the process since the same can be appealed. But personally, I don't think Justin will do such a thing. Gilas will be stronger because of this and we still don't know the truth surrounding this," Tolentino said.
Meanwhile, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino said Brownlee has until Thursday next week to appeal his failed drug test.
“All Brownlee needs is to prove his innocence. In contesting the results, he can allow the testng of his B-samples,” Tolentino said.
But for now, Brownlee, like cyclist Ariana Dormitorio, who also tested positive for a banned substance, is provisionally suspended until he proves his innocence.
However, if his B-samples test positive for carboxy-THC too, Brownlee risks getting suspended from all competitions for two years, which means he will be ruled out for the upcoming PBA Commissioner's Cup as Ginebra's import. (With reports from Wilnard Bacelonia and Ivan Saldajeno/PNA)