Philippine basketball

Heir apparent? Bennie Boatwright naturalization process for Gilas begins in Senate

JR Isaga

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Heir apparent? Bennie Boatwright naturalization process for Gilas begins in Senate

POSTER. Bennie Boatwright in action for the San Miguel Beermen in the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner's Cup.

PBA Images

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman Sonny Angara files Senate Bill No. 2646, kickstarting the Gilas Pilipinas naturalization process of 27-year-old phenom Bennie Boatwright

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas continues to build for the future as the naturalization process for former San Miguel import Bennie Boatwright has begun in the Senate.

Last Monday, April 29, Senator Sonny Angara filed Senate Bill No. 2646 for the 27-year-old forward’s naturalization, noting that Boatwright “has embraced the love and support of Filipinos and has expressed a strong willingness to continue playing for the Philippines.”

Angara, also the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman, added that Boatwright’s naturalization will be “very beneficial to Philippine basketball as we continue to improve our global standing.”

Boatwright last played for San Miguel in the 2023-2024 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, where he led the Beermen to their league record-extending 29th championship after a six-game conquest of the Magnolia Hotshots.

In that conference, the 6-foot-8 stretch big averaged a whopping 35.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.0 block, only losing his candidacy for the Best Import award due to insufficient games played.

Previously asked about his thoughts on playing for Gilas, Boatwright said the potential partnership is a “no-brainer.”

“Living here, experiencing the culture, experiencing everything, and my teammates, coaches, they all made me feel welcomed,” he said.

If his naturalization is processed, Boatwright is set to join a star-studded Gilas naturalized player pool, currently housing the likes of Justin Brownlee, Ange Kouame, and NBA star Jordan Clarkson. –

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