By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel resident import Justin Brownlee is now an official kababayan after completing his Filipino naturalization process last January 12, 2023.
After almost two months of processing his requirements, Brownlee can finally call himself a Filipino after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed the Republic Act 11937.
It was a quick action from the Philippine government after the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) pushed for Brownlee’s naturalization last November 2022 as part of their preparation for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Senator Francis Tolentino facilitated the process as the main proponent of House Bill 6224 which was formulated to grant Brownlee Filipino citizenship.
The next steps then went smoothly as Brownlee immediately received 21 affirmative votes with no abstentions last December which paved the way for RA 11937.
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 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.
Gilas’ newest kababayan will then seek to help Ginebra win the do-or-die Game 7 against the Bay Area Dragons on January 15, 2023 in the championship series of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
If the Gin Kings will win the duel, Brownlee will have another stellar milestone of winning the PBA title as the conference’s Best Import awardee.