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Justiniano Kayumanggihin

He's one of those fish who found their way into Philippine waters. Yeah right. The Senate President knows that. And we're glad to witness one of Philippine basketball's biggest catch.

Oh yes, before we get so confused 😱 (by Senator Tito Sotto's statements, no less), there's a pending bill in the Philippine HORRORS HOR (okay, House of Representatives) asking this exceptional baller to be Filipino already. We've seen a series of articles too, talking about his desire to be a Filipino. And who isn't excited by these gestures: eating balut (give this guy a PH passport, faster!); celebrating fiestas, Pinoy-style; and putting his arm over his chest (even if he isn't required yet) during the singing of the Lupang Hinirang!

Sometimes (if not many a times) he is a lot more Filipino than most Filipinos, right? And it is just so heartwarming to know someone who is very eager to become one of us. It's ironic, when apparently the whole world looks down on a country notorious for all these and morethe EJKs, a foulmouthed President who speaks trash at world-leaders and global institutions and sells out an entire country for a few pieces of silverhere he is, still wanting to become one of us, a Filipino. And for us that's, uhm, sweet. 😊

Talk about "incarnation" in basketball by way of naturalizationbecoming like us, embracing whatever attributions, good or bad, that comes with itjust to be a Filipino. He is an epitome of hard work, patience, excellence and humility. Just the right if not the perfect formula we all look for in a PBA import who plays for the country's most popular team, Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings.

Eating balut?! Oh well, give this guy a PH Passport already!

And we badly NEED those traits to INSPIRE US if not—INFECT USduring these times when people loathe us for being LAZY (the leaders perhaps, and does NOT hold true for the ganado Pinoy labor force); IMPATIENT (fixers, anyone?); MEDIOCRE (Best and the Brightest? Oh come on!) and more often than not, SBSS (yeah, you guessed that one, sobrang bilib sa sarili).

Of course he is NOT yet a naturalized Filipino (as of this blog posting). We wish to see him don the Gilas kit sooner than soon. And why not, that would spell a lot of difference come international games having a wing who plays with so much heart and can score and play D effectively. We have bigs that can handle the paint so we won't be needing the likes of Blatche at the naturalized spot in the coming years. JuneMar is getting more accustomed to FIBA play alongside Japeth. Of course we have promising bigs in Kai Sotto, AJ Edu, Karl Tamayo and Geo Chiu (and more BIG kids growing) from the Gilas Youth who will soon see themselves practicing with the seniors.

This direction (particularly the naturalization bill) makes us wonder if the San Miguel Corporation could be in for an eventual takeover of the Gilas Pilipinas program. Are we going to see the "San Miguel" or "Ginebra" logo placed under "Pilipinas" instead of the "Smart" vicks vaporub logo which has been there for quite some time?

But that doesn't matter at this point. What we want to see is someone who will continue to inspire us and help us value our true worth as Filipinos. And we're glad to see ONE—wading his way to the Philippine seaswilling to swim with us amidst rough and stormy waters to help us realize and value the goodness and joy of what it is to be a Filipino.

We can't wait to see that day when we hear the coliseum barker roar: "Ladies and gentlemen, wearing jersey number 32, JUSTINIANO KAYUMANGGIHIN..."

... follow @labapilipinas on twitter for some sports laundering!


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