Since he arrived in the Philippines back in 2016, Justin Brownlee has spent only a few months back in his hometown of Tifton, Georgia. And by the looks of it, the 30-year-old plans on making the Philippines his permanent residence.
“Hindi na si Brownlee ang import dahil gagawin na natin siyang Pilipino,” disclosed San Miguel Corporation sports director Alfrancis Chua during Ginebra’s celebration held in Ortigas. “Sinabi ni Brownlee samin kaharap ang buong team, ‘Boss, I want to be naturalized’. Sinabi ko and sinabi din ni boss [Ramon S. Ang], if he wants to stay here for good he’s so welcome.
“Lahat ibibigay namin.”
Since 2016, the 6-foot-4 reinforcement has also served as an import for Mighty Sports Philippines in the Dubai International Basketball Championship and San Miguel Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League, all while waiting for another tour of duty with the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
“Brownlee loves the Philippines. He told me many times na kung matapos siya ng paglalaro, he wants to stay in the Philippines and he wants to be naturalized,” added Chua.
“To make the long story short, he loves the Philippines and he wants to stay here for good.”
For their part, San Miguel is willing to oblige its player’s request. And once he retires, SMC’s brass assured that there will be a job waiting for him.
But a Gilas call-up is out of the question, as the reinforcement that the Philippine Men’s National Basketball Team wants is a center.
“Gusto yata nila yung malalaki diba so it’s out of the question,” lamented Chua.
“Si Brownlee maliit pero any puso ni Brownlee, malaki pa sa Pilipinas. Siya gusto niya talaga magpa-naturalize hindi para maglaro. Gusto niya lang talaga.”