Senator Francis Tolentino said Justin Brownlee’s bid to become a Filipino citizen may secure the blessing of the Senate by December.
“So give and take, since we’re done with the budget hearings, probably by December we can have some progress on this, sans any opposition,” said Tolentino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights in an interview with CNN Philippines.
The panel headed by the legislator heard pending bills seeking to grant Filipino citizenship to the 34-year old Brownlee who averages 29.9 points per game and 11.7 rebounds per game while playing his eighth season with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
Among the pending bills seeking to grant Filipino citizenship to the GinKings’ resident import included Senate Bill No. 1336 filed by Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Senate Bill No. 1516 filed Senator Sonny Angara, who is also the current chair of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
FIBA, the governing body for international basketball, only allows one naturalized player per country in any tournament sanctioned by the federation.
“Brownlee would make an immediate impact on the current line-up of the country’s Men’s National Basketball Team under Gilas Pilipinas for the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup next year.”
According to the lawmaker, Brownlee–with his stellar track record in the PBA–would make an immediate impact on the current line-up of the country’s Men’s National Basketball Team under Gilas Pilipinas for the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup next year.
“I think it will set a barometer so to speak, given his skills, the right attitude… we’re racing for time in terms of the legislative process but in terms of the chemistry, the skillset, palagay ko we’re not racing for time kasi alam na ni Justin kung ano yung laro nung mga ka teammates niya and he’s been attending practice I heard,” the senator said.
Aside from expressing his willingness and excitement to play as a Filipino in the national team, but also having conducted himself in the highest standard on and off the court, Tolentino believes that Brownlee will be a good role model to the Filipino youth.
“With this character, with his skills, and with his attitude siguro puwede siyang gayahin ng mga kabataang Pilipino.”
“We’ve seen Brownlee’s attitude so far for the last 6 years so makakatulong ito dahil with this character, with his skills, and with his attitude siguro puwede siyang gayahin ng mga kabataang Pilipino… He’s very humble, he’s very excited iyon ang nakikita ko, and he has the right attitude,” Tolentino concluded.