By NIKOLE JAVIER
Newly naturalized Filipino Justin Brownlee took his oath of allegiance to the Philippines on Monday, Jan. 16, less than 24 hours after winning his sixth championship title in the PBA.
Brownlee made it a double celebration with his Philippine citizenship and another championship title following Ginebra’s 114-99 triumph over the visiting Bay Area before a record-breaking 54,589 crowd at the Philippine Arena.
Senate justice and human rights chairman Francis Tolentino officiated the oath-taking which came days after President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. signed Republic Act 11937 that granted him citizenship.
“This experience has been unbelievable for me and such a blessing. I’m really just thankful and honored to be here in front of you guys. And just being a citizen of the Philippines. It means the world to me. Since I came to this country, I’ve gotten a lot of love from the fans, from people just walking down the street or anything. I’m just very honored and blessed to be a Filipino and represent the country in the right way. Show that Filipino pride to the world and on the international stage for basketball,” said Brownlee.
As his naturalization bid successfully concludes, Brownlee is greeted with national team duties.
The 34-year-old will suit up as a Filipino in the final window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers on Feb. 24 and 27 against Jordan and Saudi Arabia, respectively.
Brownlee will also see action for the Philippines in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia in May.