Philippine basketball

Becoming Gilas’ next naturalized player a ‘no-brainer’ for Boatwright

Delfin Dioquino

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Becoming Gilas’ next naturalized player a ‘no-brainer’ for Boatwright

PROSPECT. Bennie Boatwright (second to left) with SBP president Al Panlilio, SBP executive director Erika Dy, Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tim Cone and team manager Richard del Rosario.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Facebook page

Bennie Boatwright says his splendid experience in the country while playing for San Miguel convinced him to accept the offer to become a naturalized player for Gilas Pilipinas

MANILA, Philippines – Bennie Boatwright did not have to think twice when he got asked to become Gilas Pilipinas’ next naturalized player. 

His splendid stay in the country while playing for San Miguel convinced Boatwright to accept the offer from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas as his naturalization went underway. 

“Living here, experiencing the culture, experiencing everything, and my teammates, coaches, they all made me feel welcomed, so it’s a no-brainer,” said Boatwright. 

Boatwright took the PBA by storm when came in as replacement import in the Commissioner’s Cup, steering the Beermen to the championship following a six-game conquest of Magnolia in the finals. 

A 6-foot-8 big man with a sweet shooting stroke, the 27-year-old Boatwright averaged 30.3 points, 12 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in his first tour of duty in the PBA.

Boatwright said he got approached by San Miguel Corporation sports director Alfrancis Chua if he wanted to be naturalized after their semifinal sweep of Ginebra and he immediately agreed. 

“Couple of players mentioned it to me and coaches were like asking me if I’m open to it. After we played Ginebra, boss Al asked me if I was open to it and I said for sure. And that’s where it started,” Boatwright said.

Now playing in the Chinese Basketball Association for the Shanxi Loongs, Boatwright returned to the country and met with SBP president Al Panlilio for the first time on Saturday, April 20.

The federation chief liked what he saw in Boatwright and even compared him to current naturalized player Justin Brownlee.

“I told him that he’s a bigger, younger version of Brownlee,” said Panlilio in a story posted on the SBP website. “He’s very excited to be chosen, to be part of the Gilas journey.”

Boatwright will join a growing naturalized player pool that also includes NBA veteran Jordan Clarkson and former UAAP MVP Ange Kouame. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!
Person, Human, Clothing


Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.