Naturalized players could play in the SEA Games — Tolentino

The Philippine basketball team could send its biggest arsenal – its naturalized players – in its bid to regain lost glory in the 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia this May.

Justin Brownlee, whose naturalization process is in the final stages, might suit up for the Philippine team to the 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia. (File Photo)

This after Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino disclosed that the Cambodia SEAG organizing committee only requires a passport for a certain athlete to be eligible to play in the biennial competition.

This proved to be good news for the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), which could field in the likes of Ange Kouame, Marcus Douthit and Andrei Blatche, who are all Philippine passport holders.

Even Justin Brownlee, who is in the final process of naturalization bid, could make it to the squad for the May 5 to 17 hostilities.

“Pasok na sa SEAG (si Brownlee) kasi pinakamabilis na nga yung sa kanya. Sabi ng SBP, baka pagamit na nila si Brownlee. Sigurado namang aabot siya dun, mapa-process na kaagad ang passport niya,” Tolentino said in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum Tuesday, Jan. 10.

At present, Brownlee’s naturalization bill was already signed on its third and final reading and is already awaiting the signature of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for it to become a law.

Brownlee, who currently plays an import for Barangay Ginebra in the ongoing PBA Finals, could be instrumental in the PH basketball team’s campaign to erase the stigma of a silver-medal finish in the 2022 Vietnam edition at the hands of Indonesia.

Prior to that stinging defeat, the Filipino dribblers have been reigning supreme in the said regional event for the past 33 years.

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