Cone: Brownlee a perfect fit for Gilas
Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone knows just how good Justin Brownlee is that—if he would have his way—the versatile import should be wearing the Gilas Pilipinas jersey as soon as possible.
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 competitions.
“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, had filed House Bill No. 8106 endorsing Brownlee’s naturalization in the lower House in August 2018.
Once that bill goes through both levels of Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate, and gets signed by President Duterte to become a republic act, then Brownlee can officially say he’s a Filipino.
Brownlee, who has so far won three titles with the Gin Kings, had said that he would love to play for the Philippines and that stance has not changed 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,” said Brownlee, who is listed as 6-foot-5 but is playing—and dominating—in a conference where 6-foot-10 imports are allowed.
“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.”
Cone said that Brownlee’s impact goes beyond basketball and that the prolific 31-year-old’s personality alone gives the 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.
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