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Brownlee gets Senate nod

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel import Justin Brownlee is getting closer to becoming a Filipino citizen after the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee approved of his application for naturalization on Monday.

Appearing in the Senate a day after the Kings’ 89-85 win over TNT Tropang Giga in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup, the 34-year-old forward got the Senate approval, putting him a few steps away from playing for Gilas Pilipinas in the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers on 24 and 27 February 2023 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Committee chairman Francis Tolentino approved the bill after seeing that the former St. John’s University star has no derogatory records. Now, Brownlee’s case will be tackled at the plenary level.

Aside from Brownlee, who showed up in short-sleeved Barong Tagalog, officials from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas were also in attendance, similar to what they did when the Kings import appeared before the Lower House last week.

Brownlee has been playing for Ginebra in the PBA since 2016 and has won five PBA championships and was also a two-time Best Import of the Conference awardee.

He also teamed up with Renaldo Balkman at Alab Pilipinas for the ASEAN Basketball League where they swept Thailand’s Mono Vampire in a best-of-five championship series in 2018.

Senator Ronald de la Rosa, a huge Ginebra fan, vouched for Brownlee’s naturalization.

“Justin Brownlee, as I know, is an athlete characterized by excellence and humility, he is a very good example to the Filipino people,” added Dela Rosa, one of the sponsors for Senate Bill 1336, 1516 and 2048 along with senators Sonny Angara and Joel Villanueva, respectively.

”If they see Justin Brownlee’s demeanor during games, they will learn to love him because of his humility.”

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