Boatwright's Gilas naturalization a boost for regional tilts

Boatwright’s Gilas naturalization a boost for regional tilts

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 05:20 AM March 31, 2024

Bennie Boatwright Gilas

Bennie Boatwright: Filipino soon for Gilas? —MARLO CUETO/

Tim Cone had said—just days after announcing a 12-man pool for Gilas Pilipinas that would hopefully take the Philippines back to the World Cup and Los Angeles Olympics in 2028—that like in “any other basketball team,” change in national team personnel is inevitable.

With that being said, Bennie Boatwright, San Miguel Beer’s ace in the last Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup, is set to begin the process of being the next naturalized player for the National quintet.

That doesn’t mean, though, that Justin Brownlee is set to leave the team in the near future.


READ: Bennie Boatwright the next naturalized player for Gilas Pilipinas

“[The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas or SBP] is thinking of the other tournaments where the country can field multiple naturalized players,” an unimpeachable federation source told the Inquirer during the Lenten break. “Foremost of these (tournaments) are the Southeast Asia Games and the Asian Games (Asiad).”

Team Philippines reclaimed supremacy of the Asian region late last year in Hangzhou, China, where it beat the Chinese in the semifinals behind two miracle triples from Brownlee, and then got back at Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Jordan in the gold medal match.

That ended a 61-year wait for the Philippines for the Asian crown for the sport the Filipinos love the most. And the SBP and Cone know that.


READ: No one is indispensable at Gilas like in any other team

“It’s just right that (the SBP) plans for the long term,” the source continued. “The Southeast Asian Games will be held next year, and who knows that format the organizers can come up with, while the Asian Games is in three years.”


Unlike in Fiba-sanctioned events that allow just one naturalized player, regional tournaments come up with formats that depend on the host countries.

In the Cambodia SEA Games last year, the hosts almost got the gold by playing a roster that was almost full of naturalized players.

The Asiad also allowed multiple naturalized players, and Ange Kouame was there to help Brownlee and a selection of PBA stars wrest the gold back.

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The source reiterated that Brownlee will remain Cone’s ace for the team being groomed to take part in Fiba World Cup windows and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament set in Latvia later in the year.

TAGS: Bennie Boatwright, Gilas Pilipinas

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