Angara Backs the Citizenship Bid of Gilas Prospect Bennie Boatwright 

Posted on: Thu, 05/02/2024 - 13:46 By: admin
Angara Backs the Citizenship Bid of Gilas Prospect Bennie Boatwright 

Senator Sonny Angara has initiated the process for the citizenship bid of Bennie Boatwright III, who is being eyed as another key addition to the Gilas Pilipinas national men’s basketball team.

Angara, who serves as chairman of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, on Monday filed Senate Bill No. 2646, which seeks to grant citizenship to the 27-year-old Boatwright.

This comes after preliminary meetings between Boatwright and SBP officials, including its President Al Panlilio, who has stated that the team has found “the right guy.”

“Boatwright will be a very strong addition to the Gilas Pilipinas squad and will make us even more competitive in international tournaments including the Asian Games, World Cup and even the Olympics,” Angara said.

The six-foot-ten former University of Southern California Trojans star has an impressive resume, which includes stints in the NBA G League, the Mexican Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional (LNBP), the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and our very own Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

As a USC Trojan, Boatwright was named All-PAC-12 First Team for the 2018-2019 season, alongside current NBA players Jaylen Nowell, KZ Okpala and Matisse Thybulle.

In 2017 he was MVP of the ESPN Diamond Head Classic and in 2019 he was part of the National Association of Basketball Coaches All District Second Team.

From 2020 to 2022, Boatwright played in the NBA G League for the Memphis Hustle and Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

This was followed by stints with the Libertadores de Queretaro of the LNBP, the San Miguel Beermen in the PBA and currently with the Shanxi Loongs of the CBA.

Philippine hoops fans are now familiar with Boatwright after helping the Beermen win in the last PBA Commissioner’s Cup. 

“Boatwright adds depth to Gilas Pilipinas. With his height and ability to shoot from the perimeter, Boatwright will definitely help the national team as a two-way player,” Angara said.

Antipolo City Rep. Robbie Puno, who serves as SBP vice chairman, is also expected to file the counterpart measure in the House of Representatives.

Once naturalized, Boatwright is expected to serve as the backup of fellow naturalized player Justin Brownlee in the Gilas Pilipinas roster.

This will bring to four the naturalized players available to play for the national team namely Brownlee, Ange Kouame, Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson, and Boatwright.

Kouame and Boatwright also represents the future of Gilas Pilipinas, with Brownlee having turned 36 this year.

Boatwright has expressed strong willingness to play for the Philippines, something which Angara said will help his citizenship bid.