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MANILA, Philippines – Justin Brownlee is finally a kababayan.
After four years of waiting, Barangay Ginebra’s resident import is now a naturalized Filipino citizen after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed Republic Act 11937 on Tuesday, January 12.
Even before the President’s approval, Brownlee has been training for months with Gilas Pilipinas as he is fully expected to be the Philippine national team reinforcement for the upcoming sixth window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup qualifiers this February.
“He will be of great service to this nation not just in basketball and in sports, but even in other endeavors,” said Senator Francis Tolentino in a TV5 interview.
“We hope that through his character, he will be an inspiration to the Filipino youth.”
For years, Brownlee has vocally longed to get local citizenship outside of basketball reasons after endearing himself to his Filipino fans.
About to turn 35 years old in April, the six-year Ginebra mainstay and three-time PBA Best Import is still one of the pro league’s best players and will certainly be a huge boost to the Philippines’ World Cup contention hopes.
In the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Brownlee averages a loaded stat line of 29.0 points, 10.6 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.8 blocks, and 1.6 steals as Ginebra guns for its fourth title in six conferences against guest team Bay Area Dragons.
Following the Commissioner’s Cup, the self-nicknamed “Justin Noypi” is fully expected to remain with the Gin Kings for the season-ending Governors’ Cup, most likely juggling duties for club and finally, for country. – Rappler.com