JUSTIN Brownlee is set to appear before Congress on Wednesday to start his naturalization process for a possible inclusion in Gilas Pilipinas for the February window of the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios confirmed the development during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
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Barrios said Brownlee will appear in front of the Committee of Justice chaired by Rep. Juliet Marie de Leon Ferrer of the Fourth District of Negros Occidental.
“Bukas, may hearing na sa Congress, mag-aappear na si Justin Brownlee doon,” said Barrios, who shared during the PSA Forum that Brownlee will be wearing a Barang Tagalog in his appearance with Congress, and has already practiced in singing the Philippine national anthem.
Barrios said the target is for Brownlee to be naturalized in time for the February window of the Fiba qualifiers.
The SBP official said Brownlee’s appearance is just the start of the naturalization process that will also go through the Senate.
“Initial pa lang. Kailangan personally makita siya ng Committee on Justice ng Congress. Nag-uumpisa ‘yan sa Congress. Kapag inapprove sa Congress, saka aakyat sa Senado. May proseso at walang shortcut,” said Barrios.
Even before the naturalization process, Brownlee has been attending the weekly practices of Gilas Pilipinas for the November window for him to get accustomed the system of head coach Chot Reyes.
Barrios said the SBP is letting the process of Brownlee’s naturalization takes its course. He is optimistic that Brownlee will eventually get the nod with the two legislative bodies expressing support to Gilas Pilipinas.
“Ayokong manguna sa ating mga Congressmen at Senators. That’s the last thing we like to do. Let’s allow them to do their jobs first. They know what’s required. We are very fortunate that both houses, Lower and Upper House, the support for basketball is immense and unquantifiable,” said Barrios.