Tim Cone gives vote to Justin Brownlee as Gilas’ naturalized player
MANILA, Philippines—Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone knows just how good Justin Brownlee is that he wants his trusted forward to one day don the Philippine national team colors.
Cone didn’t discount the capabilities of current naturalized player Andray Blatche, but if it were him he’d vote for Brownlee to represent the Philippines as a naturalized Filipino in international competition.
“Isn’t Justin amazing?” said Cone after Ginebra’s 110-95 win over Meralco in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “I tell you, I know that Andray is a great player, and I know all these guys, I really don’t have any say in that.”
“But I tell you my vote goes for Justin, for the national team.”
Mikee Romero, the 1-Pacman party-list representative and NorthPort governor, filed House Bill No. 8106 endorsing Brownlee’s naturalization in the lower house of the Philippine Congress back in August 2018.
Once that bill goes through both levels of Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate, and gets signed by President Rodrigo Duterte to become a Republic Act then, Brownlee can officially say he’s a Filipino.
Brownlee, who won three titles with the Gin Kings, had said that he would love to play for the Philippines and that stance has not change one bit.
“I’d definitely be honored to play and represent the country, that’s definitely been a dream of mine since I’ve been here in the Philippines. Connecting with the Philippine culture and the people, it’s been unbelievable,” said Brownlee.
“Hopefully, the [legislative] process is still going forward and it’s not standing still or going backwards, I’m still excited for it,” added Brownlee who had 27 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, and four blocks against the Bolts.
Cone said that Brownlee’s impact goes beyond basketball and that the prolific 31-year-old’s personality alone gives a team wonders.
Brownlee started playing in the PBA in 2016 as a replacement import for Paul Harris and has since become entrenched in the local basketball culture even playing hoops with fans he comes across while driving.
“Justin can change a team, not just by his play, but by his personality,” said Cone. “He’s an amazing player and human being, he really is.”