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Congress summons Justin Brownlee for naturalization process

Justin Brownlee is set to meet the Congress regarding his naturalization bid. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Justin Brownlee's naturalization process is now in full swing.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios said on Tuesday that the Ginebra import has been called upon by the House of Representatives on Wednesday to show up in a hearing regarding his intent of acquiring Filipino citizenship.

"Bukas, may hearing na sa Congress. A-appear si Justin Brownlee doon," Barrios said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Philippine Sports Commission conference room.

Joining Brownlee in the hearing are Gilas team manager Butch Antonio and SBP legal consultant Aga Francisco.

He even said in jest that Brownlee will enter the Congress in barong Tagalog and has already memorized a few lines in Lupang Hinirang.

Brownlee is eyed as Gilas' naturalized player for the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers next February at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue.

The six-foot-five swingman has been seeking naturalization since 2018, but it took four years before he can finally justify his decision to become Filipino.

Time, however, could not probably be on the side of both Brownlee and the SBP especially if they want to make the 34-year-old Brownlee available by February.

Despite that, Barrios said that he will not place the legislative chambers in a hurry regarding Brownlee's case.

"Ayaw nating manguna sa ating mga congressmen and senators. That's the last thing we'd like to do. Let us allow them to do their job. They know what is required," Barrios further said.

Good thing for the SBP, the national government has been very proactive in helping Gilas' cause.

"Nagkukusa na sila, from the Office of the President, the Senate, the House, at si Chairman Noli [Eala], kahit na hindi namin sabihan o pakiusapan," Barrios further said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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