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SBP initiates naturalization talks with Bennie Boatwright

MANILA: The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has initiated talks with Bennie Boatwright III regarding a possible stint with the Gilas Pilipinas team as a naturalized player in future FIBA competitions. In a press statement on Monday, the SBP said Boatwright, who played as import for the San Miguel Beermen in the recent PBA Commissioner's Cup, "demonstrated he was a good fit for Philippine basketball as he led his ball club to the championship with his overall leadership and talent". The SBP said the 27-year-old Boatwright, a former University of Southern California (USC) Trojan who is currently playing in China, is willing to return to the PBA as soon as possible since he has developed a strong connection with the Philippines. "It is SBP's philosophy to maintain a pool of naturalized players to provide the Philippine National Team with options for specific tournaments. The presence of a pool also ensures availability of naturalized players in case of injuries, scheduling issues, and other unforeseen i ncidents," the statement said. The 6-foot-10 Boatwright is said to be a solid choice for naturalization as the SBP wants to secure the future of the national team alongside working on its current goals. Justin Brownlee will continue to be naturalized player for the Gilas Pilipinas Men's Team as aligned with Coach Tim Cone's program, the SBP said. Source: Philippines News Agency