MANILA, Philippines – Justin Brownlee now knows what it feels like to wear a Gilas Pilipinas jersey and he has his fingers crossed that he will be able to do so in an official game in the near future.
The import said it was an “honor” for him to join the national team in practice after he was invited by Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone to serve as warm body for their session on Monday, October 28.
“Actually, a couple of people said, they messaged me, ‘Some nice color. I like the color.’ Hopefully, I can sport that someday in a real game,” said Brownlee when told he looks good in a Philippines jersey.
“Coach Tim invited me and it was an honor just to be invited in practice, being around all these talented guys playing in the PBA, playing against them, and now practicing with them,” he added.
“It’s a special moment. It’s a lot of talent and I’m hoping they do really well in the SEA Games and get the gold medal.”
Having been in the Philippines for 3 years now as he reinforces Barangay Ginebra for his seventh PBA conference, Brownlee has repeatedly expressed his desire to play as a naturalized player for Gilas Pilipinas.
A bill was filed at the House of Representatives in 2018 pushing for his naturalization, and the 31-year-old Brownlee wishes he can realize his dream while he is still at the peak of his powers.
“I hope soon, sooner than later. But I’m not sure right now, as far as the naturalization is going, it’s still pending from what I heard. But I’m hoping it’s passed very soon,” said the three-time PBA champion.
For now, Brownlee just relished the opportunity of lending Gilas Pilipinas a helping hand in its preparations for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games, which the country will host starting November 30.
“It was fun, just interacting with all the guys, help them learn because the system they’re using is pretty much similar to what we run in Ginebra. Any type of help I can do, I’m willing to do it.” – Rappler.com
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