MANILA, Philippines – Being one of Gilas Pilipinas’ candidates for naturalization has opened the door for Justin Brownlee to be on the same side with his fiercest foes in the PBA.
The Barangay Ginebra import relished the opportunity to play with the likes of June Mar Fajardo and Chris Newsome as he joins the national team in its practices.
“It was fun, just being able to play with some of the guys from other teams. I definitely admire some of the guys on the team – June Mar Fajardo, CJ Perez, Chris Newsome,” said Brownlee.
The 34-year-old has been a thorn in the side of Fajardo and Newsome as he led the Gin Kings to five championships.
Fajardo and San Miguel were one title away from completing a rare Grand Slam in 2017 and 2019, but they were eliminated by Brownlee and Ginebra in the Governors’ Cup in both seasons.
Meanwhile, Newsome and Meralco fell short of the Governors’ Cup crown four times as they lost to Brownlee and Ginebra in the finals in all occasions.
“It was fun just being around those guys. I’m always competing in the PBA against them. It was fun to see those guys on the same side,” Brownlee said.
Finding a second home in the Philippines since he started his PBA career in 2016, Brownlee said he would be ecstatic to don the national colors.
Brownlee and TNT reinforcement Cameron Oliver are being eyed for naturalization to fill in for Filipino-American NBA player Jordan Clarkson whenever he is unavailable.
“I’m very blessed and honored to be part of the team, just practicing now. Hopefully, the bill passes. It will be a blessing to be able to suit up and represent the Philippines,” he said.
“Just trying to enjoy being around the team and just very grateful for the opportunity.” – Rappler.com