Philippine basketball

Brownlee naturalization gives SBP ‘comfort’ with growing reinforcement options

JR Isaga
Brownlee naturalization gives SBP ‘comfort’ with growing reinforcement options

MILESTONE. Justin Brownlee becomes the first import in PBA history to record at least 300 steals.

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The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas shows its gratitude to the government for fast-tracking Justin Brownlee's Filipino naturalization ahead of the 2023 FIBA World Cup

MANILA, Philippines – Fan favorite Barangay Ginebra import Justin Brownlee is getting ever nearer to his long-awaited naturalization as a Filipino citizen, and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) likewise cannot wait to reap the rewards with his nearing eligibility for the Gilas Pilipinas national team.

Speaking to reporters at Novotel Hotel in Quezon City on Wednesday, November 30, SBP president Al Panlilio shared his elation with Brownlee’s citizenship progress, which recently hurdled the House with a 274-0-1 vote.

“I guess I have to leave it to the coaches, but I think, for sure, we want to use him in the sixth window in February [2023]. We also have the SEA Games tournament in early May. I think we can use him or [Ange] Kouame. Again, depending on the coaches,” he said.

“But yeah, having Justin there gives me a lot of comfort that we have, in a way, a resident import in our country together with Ange. Of course, [Jordan] Clarkson is committed equally, but he has commitments in the NBA [which] limits his times with us.”

“But to just have options and the caliber of Justin makes me sleep at night that we have somebody who we can use.”

Already 34 years old, Brownlee is still one of the best imports in the PBA for Ginebra, and is currently averaging 28.5 points, 10.4 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup.

The longtime Gin Kings reinforcement now just has to have his naturalization hurdle the Senate and the bicameral stage before President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. can sign on the dotted line to finalize the process.

“[We thank] all the congressmen and senators who made it possible in very quick fashion and we appreciate that,” Panlilio continued.

“At the end of the day, it’s for basketball and for the country, and we heard it the whole week today: this is a World Cup event. This is not just SBP. This is for the Philippines and we have to help one another to be able to host this biggest event.” –

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