Newly naturalized Brownlee takes oath of allegiance to PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 16) — Professional basketball player Justin Brownlee took his oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines on Monday, following the enactment of the measure granting him Filipino citizenship.

On Jan. 12, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed Republic Act No. 11937, the law that officially recognized the 6-foot-6 resident import of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel as a Filipino.

Senator Francis Tolentino, the principal sponsor of the law, facilitated Brownlee’s oath of allegiance in a ceremony at the Senate building in Pasay City.

Tolentino said Brownlee only needs to obtain a certificate of naturalization from the Bureau of Immigration to fully exercise his rights as a citizen of the Philippines.

Following his naturalization, Brownlee will now be able to suit up for the national basketball team Gilas Pilipinas, and start the qualification process for international events under the country’s flag, particularly the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup Asian Qualifiers in February.

The United States-born Brownlee is also expected to play for the Philippine team in the Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia this May.

Initially joining the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) as a replacement import, Brownlee averaged of 29.29 points, 10.57 rebounds, and 7.43 assists per game in the league.

He was awarded the PBA's Best Import title three times and steered the Ginebra Gin Kings to five PBA titles.

“To say that Mr. Brownlee is an exceptional basketball player is an understatement. He will surely reinforce the Gilas team in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers next year,” Tolentino said.

Brownlee will be part of a pool of Gilas Pilipinas naturalized players, along with Jordan Clarkson and Ange Kouame.