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Brownlee naturalization hurdles first step

The House Committee on Justice formally approved on first reading House Bill 825 or the granting of Philippine citizenship to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel resident import Justin Brownlee.

Clad in Barong Tagalog, the 34-year-old Brownlee appeared before the members of the Committee on Justice with ranking Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas officials on Wednesday to express his willingness to gain Philippine citizenship and play for the country in major international events.

It took only 30 minutes before Rep. Pidi Barzaga moved for the approval of the proposal that was authored by 1-Pacman partylist Rep. Mikee Romero.

In his privilege speech, Romero said he is strongly pushing for the swift approval of the measure since Brownlee had “brought enormous pride and joy to all of Filipino basketball fans through his hard work in the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association).”

“On his part and since 2018, Mr. Brownlee has been consistent with his desire to make our country his permanent home and is very much willing and able to represent the Philippines in the international basketball scene as a member of Gilas Pilipinas men’s basketball team,” Romero, who owns NorthPort team in the PBA, said.

“Today, we have the distinct opportunity of providing our Gilas Pilipinas men’s basketball team with a truly dependable ally in its quest to proudly represent our country in the upcoming February 2023 sixth and final window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, which will be hosted by the Philippines, and the FIBA World Cup 2023, in the person of Mr. Justin Donta Brownlee.”

“For these reasons, I implore the aid of my distinguished colleagues for the swift passage of this measure. Thank you.”

Brownlee will need to get past three readings in the Congress and the Senate before it will be signed into law by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

A five-time PBA champion, Brownlee is the league’s second winningest import behind former Alaska reinforcement Sean Chambers, who is a six-time titlist.

He has been playing in the PBA for six years now and has established numerous individual feats and currently ranks as fifth in the all-time scoring list among reinforcements behind Norman Black, Bobby Parks, Sean Chambers and Lew Massey.

“I know how great this country is, how great basketball is in this country,” Brownlee told Daily Tribune in a previous interview.

“It’s an honor to play with this group of very talented guys (Gilas).”

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