All the standout clips strewn around showcasing the depth of Justin Brownlee’s skill set – his ability to finish the rim, his touch from the edge, his ability to create plays and build teammates – don’t show what national coach Chot can’t. Reyes is most affected.
“He’s never missed practice, and he does his best every time,” Reyes told the Inquirer on Tuesday evening, on the eve of Brownlee’s appearance before the House panel to light the wick on the naturalization process.
“And the good thing about JB is that he’s willing to be a backup. He told me he’d be ready if JC (Jordan Clarkson) wasn’t available – that’s a big deal,” Reyes added.
“He has no assumptions that he will be the best man.”
Assistant coach Jong Uichico agreed.
“He’s such a team person,” Uichico said. “He puts the needs of the team and the program ahead of his own.”
Brownlee is no stranger to his love of basketball. As a two-time top importer who helped fan-favorite Barangay Ginebra win multiple championships, the versatile winger played in front of a crowd of fans.
Now, with Brownlee in front of a mammoth, a united crowd wearing the national colors will no longer be so nervous.
As Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) continues to gain momentum in its attempt to naturalize Barangay Ginebra imports, Brownlee is scheduled to appear before the Assembly panel on Wednesday to officially begin the process of granting him Philippine citizenship.
Justin was scheduled to attend the hearing wearing a new ‘Barong’ Tagalog. I’m not sure how many lines of Lupang Hinirang he was able to sing, but I asked him not to sleep and just keep working, SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said at the Philippine Sports Writers Association forum earlier Tuesday.
“This is the beginning [step]. He needs to meet with the committee in person. Once the proposal is approved, it goes to the Senate. It will be a process,” Barrios continued.
Brownlee will be accompanied by Gilas team manager Butch Antonio and legal counsel attorney Aga Francisco.
Brownlee’s naturalization will certainly bolster the current pool of reinforcements for the national program. Currently, highlights for the naturalized player position on the national roster are Utah Jazz star Clarkson and Ateneo center Ange Kouame, who will be unavailable during the NBA season.
Brownlee’s proposal will pass three readings in the House. After that, the bill is moved to the Senate, where it goes through the same legislative process, and is finally forwarded to the President’s Office for signing the law.
After a grueling process, a few ceremonies and paperwork will eventually allow Brownlee, a diligent participant in Gilas’ weekly training sessions at Meralco Gym, to officially support Gilas Pilipinas at international events.
If nothing goes wrong, Brownlee could make his national team debut in the sixth window of the Asian qualifiers for the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) World Cup in February next year, when the Filipinos will play against Lebanon and Jordan.
According to Barrios, as SBP works to have both games played at the massive Philippine Arena in Bulacan province, if that limit happens, Brownlee will have an audience of a lifetime.
“If you look back, the February window was made in Araneta. [Coliseum in Quezon City]On August 29, the fourth window was at the Mall of Asia Arena. [in Pasay City] and now this is the sixth window in the Philippine Arena, because these are the three venues for the World Cup,” Barrios said.
The huge 55,000-seat arena is where the final stage of the World Cup will be played. Investigation
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