Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Sports Christopher “Bong” Go advocated in a committee hearing on Monday, November 21, a measure granting Philippine citizenship to Justin Brownlee.
The senator recently co-authored the measure filed by Senator Bato dela Rosa to signify his full support for the naturalization of Brownlee.
In his manifestation, Go said Brownlee’s incredible skills in the court have garnered him admiration from his coaches, teammates and basketball fans.
“In 2016, Mr. Brownlee came to the Philippines with one thing in mind – to play basketball. He initially joined the Philippine Basketball Association competitions as a replacement import. He then showcased his talents which helped Barangay Ginebra claim its first PBA championship in eight years,” pointed out Go.
“Since then, he has assisted and led his team achieve five PBA championships in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021,” he added.
According to the senator, Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone himself has expressed his admiration for the basketball player. Go said, “parati po silang naglalaban ng Meralco and Ginebra, that the difference between Ginebra and its rival Meralco is that Ginebra has Justin Brownlee. And that’s the bottom line.”
“Even so, Mr. Brownlee did not take too much credit and just prided himself on just being there for his team,” Go added.
Despite suffering from an injury last year, the senator noted that Brownlee managed to make history by claiming the fifth spot on the all-time imports’ scoring list.
“This shows his dedication to the sport and his commitment to his team,” said Go.
“Justin Brownlee was named Best Import twice, first in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup and second in the 2021 PBA Governor’s Cup,” he added.
With his decorated career, Go said he has no doubts that Brownlee will immensely help Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA Basketball World Cup next year.
“Kaya naman habang tumatagal, mas nagiging deserving siya na ma-naturalize. Nakaka-blend siya sa basketball team natin. Alam naman natin na napaka-importante na nakaka-blend ka sa teammates mo para manalo,” he said.
“Madalas po akong nanonood ng PBA at masasabi ko po talaga na malaki ang magiging kontribusyon ni Justin Brownlee sa ating national team,” he added.
More than his outstanding performance and decorated career, Go emphasized Brownlee’s love for Filipinos, culture, and traditions, praising his “pusong Pinoy” and “never say die” attitude.
“Si Brownlee may pusong Pinoy at “never say die” attitude. Kaya napamahal na siya sa mga Pilipino at alam ko rin na napamahal na rin ang mga Pilipino sa kanya, vice versa,” said Go.
“Ito po ang pinaka-importante. Higit sa talento nya sa basketball, ipinapakita nya ang puso nya na lumaban para sa Pilipino at ang pagmamahal nya po sa ating bayan. Napakaimportante po iyon, lalung-lalo na po sa ating FIBA World hosting next year po,” he added.
In granting Brownlee Philippine citizenship, the senator is hopeful that the Gilas Pilipinas will definitely bolster its chances in several upcoming international basketball tournaments.
“But beyond that, we would gain a new brother that we can proudly call ‘Filipino’,” said Go.
“I therefore give my full support for granting Philippine citizenship to Mr. Justin Brownlee,” he concluded.
The Philippines will co-host the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup with Japan and Indonesia, which will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Mall of Asia Arena from August 25 to September 10 next year. The country will also host the final phase of the