Justin Brownlee naturalization earns Senate approval on final reading

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Justin Brownlee

American basketball player Justin Brownlee’s naturalization to Philippine citizenship passes at the Committee on Justice and Human Rights level after less than two hours of deliberations on his qualifications Monday, November 21, 2022. Brownlee, wearing a Barong Tagalog, answered queries from senators, sometimes in Filipino. Voltaire F. Domingo/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines—Justin Brownlee’s bid to gain Filipino citizenship hurdled the Senate on Monday, bringing the beloved Philippine Basketball Association import closer to officially backstopping the national basketball program.

Garnering 21 affirmative votes without any abstentions, the Senate approved on third and final reading—and without amendments—House Bill 6224 that seeks to naturalize Brownlee.

Brownlee, two days removed from leading Barangay Ginebra to a semifinal berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, wore a long-sleeved Barong Tagalog and held with both his hands the Philippine flag shortly after the announcement of the decision.

The bill will now be transmitted to the Office of the President for signing into law.

Brownlee is being eyed to serve Gilas Pilipinas in future international events, particularly the sixth and final window of the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers which will pit the Nationals against red-hot Lebanon and vengeful Jordan in February next year.

A five-time PBA champion with the Gin Kings and twice the winner of the Best Import award, Brownlee has long proven to this cage-crazed nation his caliber as a reinforcement.

Born in Georgia, United States, Brownlee joins Ivory Coast native and NBA star Jordan Clarkson in Gilas’ pool of naturalized players.

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