Philippine basketball

Senate approves bill granting PH citizenship to Justin Brownlee on second reading

Delfin Dioquino
Senate approves bill granting PH citizenship to Justin Brownlee on second reading

NATURALIZED. Ginebra import Justin Brownlee has been vocal about his desire to represent the Philippines in international competitions.

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If his naturalization pushes through, Justin Brownlee is expected to reinforce Gilas Pilipinas in the final window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers early next year

MANILA, Philippines – Justin Brownlee inched closer to his goal of representing Gilas Pilipinas as a naturalized player.

The Senate on Monday, December 5, approved on second reading House Bill No. 6224, which aims to grant the Barangay Ginebra import Filipino citizenship.

Senator Francis Tolentino, who sponsored the measure, asked his fellow senators to fast-track the naturalization process as Brownlee is being eyed to reinforce the national team in the coming months.

If his naturalization pushes through, Brownlee is expected to see action in the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, where the Philippines will play a pair of home games against Lebanon and Jordan in February.

Brownlee will also be a welcome addition as Gilas Pilipinas tries to reclaim the gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia in May.

“We are running against time here,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino underscored the urgency as Brownlee also needs to acquire a Philippine passport before he gets to suit up for the national team.

“Perhaps by almost the end of January, if the president signs [it into] a law, or if it lapses into a non-signature law, it will take time. And by that time, we are now costing the FIBA [window],” Tolentino said.

The 34-year-old Brownlee has been playing in the PBA since 2016, leading the Gin Kings to five championships. –

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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.