Bennie Boatwright excited to join Gilas Pilipinas naturalized players’ pool

Bennie Boatwright’s immediate acceptance of the invitation to join Gilas Pilipinas as part of the naturalized players pool was a decision made with unwavering certainty.

The 27-year-old San Miguel import did not hesitate when approached by SMC sports director Al Francis Chua, describing the opportunity as a no-brainer.

“Once he asked, I knew I was gonna consider it,” said Boatwright.

“Couple of players mentioned it to me and coaches were asking me if I’m open to it. After we played Ginebra, after that series, Boss Al asked me if I was open to it and I said for sure. And that’s where it started,” he added.

Boatwright, a 6-foot-9 forward known for his sharpshooting abilities, has already begun the process of naturalization and was recently seen supporting his team from the sidelines during their victory over the Converge FiberXers.

Having previously experienced the vibrant basketball culture of the Philippines during his time with SMB, Boatwright felt compelled to commit to the lengthy naturalization process.

“I would say, first of all, living here , you know, experiencing the culture, experiencing everything, and my teammates, coaches, they all made me feel welcome so it was a no-brainer,” he continued.

If successful, he will join a talented roster of naturalized players including Justin Brownlee, Jordan Clarkson, and Ange Kouame.

The prospect of reuniting with his SMB teammates CJ Perez and June Mar Fajardo in the Gilas pool adds an extra layer of excitement for Boatwright.

Under the guidance of head coach Tim Cone, Boatwright’s offensive prowess has been praised, setting the stage for an exciting chapter in his basketball journey.

“I’m excited. It was tough playing against Coach Tim-coached team in the playoffs, so I’m excited to go and be under his system.”

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