Justin Brownlee a step away from completing Filipino naturalization process   

Justin Brownlee will only be needing the President’s signature to complete his naturalization. (PBA Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Barangay Ginebra’s resident import Justin Brownlee is just a step away from becoming a full-fledged Filipino after the Senate approved on third and final reading his naturalization bill on December 12, 2022.

Brownlee received 21 affirmative votes with no abstentions which paved the way for the creation of House Bill 6224.

To formalize the decision and to make it official, House Bill 6224 will only be needing the signature of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to make it into law.

“We would like to express our gratitude to our colleagues here in the Senate and the House of Representatives who gave their full support to the naturalization of Brownlee,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman and Senator Sonny Angara.

Once signed into law, Brownlee can already reinforce the Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team and will make his debut next year in the upcoming FIBA Asian qualifier window.

Brownlee will be joining former NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson and co-naturalized center Ange Kouame in the lineup.

The savvy scorer will most probably suit up against Lebanon and Jordan on February 24 and 27, respectively.

“Brownlee has now deemed the Philippines as his second home and has demonstrated a strong desire to contribute to the country as a future player of our Gilas Pilipinas squad,” Angara added.

Brownlee already established his name in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) as one of the greatest imports of all time after steering Ginebra to five championship titles.

Since helping the Gin Kings win the 2016 PBA Governor’s Cup, the coaching staff headed by chief tactician Tim Cone stuck with Brownlee and has consistently been their import until now.

The crafty small forward also won the PBA Best Import of the Conference award twice during 2018 and the 2021 Governor’s Cup.