Philippine basketball

Eyed for last FIBA window, Justin Brownlee hopes for smooth naturalization process

Delfin Dioquino
Eyed for last FIBA window, Justin Brownlee hopes for smooth naturalization process

MAINSTAY. Justin Brownlee has been the resident import for Barangay Ginebra over the last seven PBA seasons.

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Justin Brownlee says he is 'blessed' to be in the position of being a naturalized Filipino as he yearns to represent Gilas Pilipinas in the future

MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra star Justin Brownlee has his fingers crossed that his bid to play for Gilas Pilipinas materializes as his naturalization finally got underway.

Brownlee, who has been the Gin Kings’ resident import over the last seven PBA seasons, hurdled the House Committee on Justice hearing of the bill granting him Filipino citizenship last Wednesday, November 16.

“I must say I was a bit nervous just meeting the members of the House of Representatives. Things like that. Very eventful. Very exciting for sure,” said Brownlee.

“A lot of important people came for me and I just really appreciate it. I feel grateful and blessed to be in this position, to be able to get the naturalization process forward. Hopefully everything goes smooth the rest of the way.”

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has been eyeing Brownlee to reinforce the team in the last window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in February, with the Philippines hosting Lebanon and Jordan in a pair of home games.

He is set to appear before the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights on Monday, November 21, in a public hearing that will tackle his naturalization.

“It feels great. I’m here to help out the team in any kind of way, whether it is games, practice, or whatever it is. It feels great for it to start,” said Brownlee.

“Being around the team, seeing how they’ve been playing, seeing how they’re progressing, I’m just very excited to see what the future holds.”

The 34-year-old American showed a little bit of his Filipino side by wearing the traditional Barong Tagalog during the proceedings last Wednesday.

“It fits well, feels good, very comfortable, I must say. Traditionally in the US, it is a suit. Way more comfortable than wearing a suit. Keeps you a lot cooler as well. I love it, man. I love the look as well.”

Up next for Brownlee is learning Tagalog.

“I’m trying, man. But coming from English, it is just very tough, I must say. Of course, Tagalog is a lot different from English. Similar to Spanish though,” he said.

“It is a little tough but I’mma get it though.”

Brownlee also plans to have his own house here.

“Not yet, but hopefully soon. I definitely will be shopping around and looking for whatever option is there, I’m definitely looking around.” – Rappler.com

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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.