Justin Brownlee starts gathering papers for naturalization

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Ginebra import Justine Brownlee. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Justin Brownlee assured everyone he is already doing his part to get his naturalization bid going.

The beloved Barangay Ginebra import said he has begun gathering his documentary papers for his Filipino citizenship.

“[O]bviously, it takes time. Hopefully, I can get everything I need, turn [them] in, and that can start the process,” he said shortly after the crowd darlings bowed to Phoenix Super LPG, 101-93, at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has set its sights on Brownlee and TNT import Cameron Oliver to form a stable of naturalized players for Gilas Pilipinas.

The pair, alongside Ateneo ace and UAAP Most Valuable Player Ange Kouame are being primed to fill the specialized spot—especially when Jordan Clarkson is unavailable—as the cage program primes up for the World Cup here next year.

Earlier this week, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas came under fire for being unable to submit an application to the House and the Senate.

Brownlee walked reporters through the whole issue, even going as far as saying that he was also to blame.

“So initially Sheryl Reyes, my agent in the past, she was, I think, working with (Rep. and former PBA chair) Mikee Romero,” the 34-year-old cager said.

“But, you know, when she passed away, I think that had a lot to do with me, myself, not turning in proper paperwork and things like that,” he added.

“I just didn’t turn any papers in. But now, I’ve basically just started turning in papers now.”

Brownlee has been with holdovers of the roster that saw action against Lebanon and Saudi Arabia in the World Cup Asian Qualifiers, training every Mondays at Meralco Gym in Pasig.

It remains to be seen how soon Brownlee can gain Filipino citizenship, but lawmakers, most notably Sen. Francis Tolentino, who chairs a committee that handles naturalization bills, vowed to extend a helping hand.

“The Senate Committee on Justice will facilitate the hearing, and I couldn’t conduct the hearing without the papers,” said Tolentino. “If you’re still really serious with pursuing that, we should expect the papers within this month or earlier so that by November, we’re done, God-willing.”

“We’re here to expedite (the process),” said Sen. Bong Go, who chairs the Committee on Sports.

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