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Brownlee embraces Filipino citizenship

Finally, Justin Brownlee is now a Filipino.

A day after leading Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup title, Brownlee cemented his naturalization bid by taking The Oath of Allegiance Monday afternoon at the Senate.

He took his oath before Senator Francis Tolentino, the principal author of RA 11937, to formally become a citizen of the Republic that will make him eligible to see action in the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers next month at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

He will be the fourth basketball player to be naturalized following Marcus Douthit, Andray Blatche and Ange Kouame.

“Just being a citizen of the Philippines means much to me. I have gotten a lot of love from the fans and I’m very appreciative,” Brownlee said after his oathtaking ceremony.

“I’ve received a lot of messages on how proud they are and I just want to keep making you proud and do whatever I can for the national team.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios lauded Brownlee’s willingness to play for the national team.

“To those who don’t know, without downplaying the role they played, the other naturalized players, we recruited them. Justin Brownlee volunteered himself to offer his services to play for the country,” Barrios said.

“He’s an exemplary character. He’s a very good addition to have this kind of Filipino who will play for the country.”

Ginebra head coach Tim Cone backed Barrios’ sentiments, saying that he can’t wait to see his prized import represent the country in major international tournaments, including the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia and the 19th Asian Games in China this year.

He’s also happy that Brownlee’s down-to-earth attitude never changed despite the success he achieved with the Kings since arriving in 2016.

He gets so much attention and yet he’s never changed. He’s such a good person, and he’s gonna represent the country well,” Cone said.

“He’s gonna put a great face on the whole idea of Gilas.”

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