Thu. Dec 1st, 2022
Justin Brownlee STORY: Brownlee approaches Philippine citizenship as House approves naturalization law in reading 2

American basketball player Justin Brownlee attended a hearing on his naturalization by the House Justice and Humans Committee on Monday, November 21, 2022. (Photo from Sesnate Public Relations and Information Bureau)

MANILA, Philippines — Beloved Barangay Ginebra San Miguel importer Justin Brownlee is closer to acquiring Philippine citizenship as he passed a bill calling for Philippine naturalization in the second reading of the House of Representatives.

At Wednesday’s session, House Bill 6224 was orally approved, with none of them voting.

The bill replaced 1-Pacman party list Representative Michael Romero’s House Bill 825 and Parañaque 2nd District Representative Gus Tambunting’s House Bill 6071.

Romero, who sponsored the bill, mentioned that Brownlee is a highly respected figure not only in the Philippine Basketball Association where he plays, but also in other leagues where he helps Filipino teams.

“Mr. Brownlee, 6-6 years old, was born on April 23, 1988 and is a permanent fixture of Philippine basketball and a favorite of Filipino fans since 2016. […] he also helped San Miguel Alab Pilipinas in his first Asean basketball league championship,” said Romero.

“During his brilliant and illustrious career in the PBA, Mr. Brownlee managed to win five PBA titles and two Top Import Awards, averaging about 29 points, 12 rebounds and six assists per game. It is also the first PBA import to record 400 plus three points.”

Passing the replacement bill on second reading means that only another round of debate will be needed before both versions from the House and Senate are combined and amended if there are differences.

The consolidated bill then goes to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for his signature.

On Tuesday, Brownlee appeared before a Senate panel fighting her naturalization by wearing the barong tagalog – the Philippines’ national dress – while answering questions in Filipino.

Brownlee received praise from senators, who appreciated her enthusiasm for answering questions and her enthusiasm to represent the country at international games.

Sports enthusiasts want Brownlee naturalized because they believe the 34-year-old cagekeeper has a lot to offer the country despite being in his mid-30s.

Brownlee is not the first foreign basketball player to be naturalized.

Marcus Douthit was naturalized in 2011 and former Brooklyn Nets slots man Andray Blatche was naturalized in 2014 so they could represent the country in games abroad.

But with the emergence of taller domestic players, the Philippines may be looking for other talented players in forward positions.

These players include June Mar Fajardo, who is 6 feet 10 inches tall, Japeth Aguilar, who is 6 feet 9 inches tall, Raymond Almazan, who is 6 feet 8 inches tall, and Kai Sotto, who is 7 feet 2 inches.

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