MANILA – Less than 24 hours after leading Barangay Ginebra to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup title in his last match as an import, Justin Brownlee swore his allegiance to the country on Monday.
As a naturalized Filipino, the 34-year-old Brownlee can now suit up for the national team, starting with the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in February.
The Philippines is already qualified for the World Cup final phase in August as one of three co-hosts, the others being Japan and Indonesia.
Senator Francis Tolentino, Committee on Justice chair, officiated the oath-taking.
Republic Act 11937, signed by President R. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Jan. 12, granted Brownlee's Filipino citizenship.
Brownlee led Ginebra past Bay Area, 114-99, in the winner-take-all finals before a league record 54,589 fans at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on Sunday night.
He scored 34 points on 14-of-22 shooting and hauled down eight rebounds on top of 12 assists, one steal and three blocks.
Brownlee said his stay in the Philippines since 2016 has been “unbelievable” and he is grateful for the support of fans and Congress.
The three-time PBA Best Import awardee will also train and enlist as a Philippine Army Reserve Officer.
“As a citizen, I will try my best to make the Filipino people proud. I want to keep making you guys proud and to do whatever I can to help the national team,” the six-foot-five Brownlee said in an interview.
Senators JV Ejercito and Christopher Go presented Brownlee with a copy of the law. (PNA)