Granting Philippine Citizenship to Bennie Boatwright III: Strengthening Gilas Pilipinas

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Boosting Gilas Pilipinas: Senator Angara’s Proposal to Grant Citizenship to Bennie Boatwright III

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara has recently sought the granting of Philippine citizenship to Bennie Boatwright III in order to further boost Gilas Pilipinas, the national men’s basketball team. Boatwright, 27, is expected to serve as the backup to fellow naturalized player Justin Brownlee, adding depth and competitiveness to the team.

Increasing the Number of Naturalized Players

If Senator Angara’s proposal is successful, Boatwright will become the fourth naturalized player for the national team. The current naturalized players include Brownlee, Ange Kouame, and Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson. This move aims to enhance the team’s performance in various international tournaments, such as the Asian Games, World Cup, and even the Olympics.

Sonny Angara’s Senate Bill 2646

As the chairman of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), Senator Angara filed Senate Bill 2646 on Monday, which specifically seeks to grant citizenship to Boatwright. This proposal is a result of preliminary meetings between Boatwright and SBP officials, including SBP President Al Panlilio, who expressed confidence in Boatwright’s abilities and referred to him as “the right guy” for the team.

According to Senator Angara, Boatwright’s addition to the Gilas Pilipinas squad will significantly strengthen the team, making them even more competitive in international tournaments. With his height and ability to shoot from the perimeter, Boatwright will contribute as a two-way player, providing both offensive and defensive capabilities.

Support from Antipolo City Rep. Robbie Puno

Antipolo City Representative Robbie Puno, who also serves as the SBP Vice Chairman, is expected to file the counterpart measure in the House of Representatives. This demonstrates the widespread support for Boatwright’s naturalization and highlights the shared belief in the positive impact he can bring to Gilas Pilipinas.

Looking Towards the Future

Senator Angara emphasized that both Kouame and Boatwright represent the future of Gilas Pilipinas. While Brownlee, who turned 36 this year, continues to be a valuable player for the team, the addition of younger talents ensures a strong and sustainable lineup for years to come.

Boatwright has expressed a strong willingness to play for the Philippines, demonstrating his commitment and enthusiasm for representing the country on the international basketball stage. His previous achievements, such as being named the Most Valuable Player of the ESPN Diamond Head Classic in 2017 and being part of the National Association of Basketball Coaches All District Second Team in 2019, further highlight his potential as an asset to Gilas Pilipinas.

With Senator Angara’s proposal and the support of key figures in Philippine basketball, the granting of Philippine citizenship to Bennie Boatwright III is a significant step towards strengthening Gilas Pilipinas and elevating their performance on the global stage.

Source: The Manila Times

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