FIBA: Brownlee set for appearance in Congress as part of naturalization process

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 15 2022 03:44 PM

PBA Images.
Barangay Ginebra import Justin Brownlee is taking the initial steps towards his naturalization. PBA Images.

MANILA, Philippines -- Barangay Ginebra import Justin Brownlee will appear before the Lower House on Wednesday as part of the process for his naturalization.

This, according to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios who assured that the federation is pulling out all stops to ensure that Brownlee will be available for Gilas Pilipinas at the soonest possible time.

The SBP is optimistic that Brownlee will be able to suit up for the Philippines in February for the sixth and final window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

"Bukas, may hearing na po sa Congress, a-appear ho si Justin Brownlee doon," Barrios said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum. 

"Samahan ninyo tayong lahat sa dasal na ma-approve at sana on time. Malaking bagay po kung magiging available po si Justin," he said.

Brownlee, 34, has long expressed a desire to play for the Philippines. A two-time Best Import, he has led Barangay Ginebra to five PBA championships including the most recent Governors' Cup title. 

Appearing before the House Committee of Justice is among the steps he has to take in order to be naturalized. Once the bill for his naturalization is passed in the Lower House, it will be elevated to the Philippine Senate.

"May proseso po 'yan, walang shortcut-shortcut po diyan," said Barrios, who nonetheless thanked the Philippine lawmakers for their help in the process. 

"'Yung kongreso at senado, mabilis ho silang umaksyon basta kumpleto [ang documents]," he also said. "As far as effort by Congress and the Senate, I believe there's nothing more to desire from them. Kasi ano ho sila, handa silang aksyunan basta kumpleto ang dokumento."

Brownlee is tipped to join the country's pool of naturalized players, which already includes Filipino-American guard Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz and Ange Kouame of the Ateneo de Manila University.

Having multiple options will be crucial for Gilas Pilipinas, said Barrios, especially with a cramped calendar next year leading into the FIBA World Cup 2023.

"Why are we doing these things? Because we want to have more options. Kesa 'yung iisa lang ang naturalized natin," said Barrios. "We want to have more options kaya natin tinatrabaho si Justin."

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