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Kouame moves closer to Filipino naturalization

Former Ateneo Blue Eagles’ slotman Angelo Kouame is now a step closer to becoming a naturalized Filipino.

Kouame moves closer to Filipino naturalization
Angelo Kouame
The 22-year-old Kouame received the news on Wednesday when the House Committee on Justice approved on first reading a measure seeking naturalization for the 6’10” center from the Ivory Coast.

The bill will go through second and third readings before being elevated to the Senate. After a Senate approval, the bill will lapse into law after 30 days, but President Rodrigo Duterte can sign it before the 30 days are over to speed up the process. 

Only then can Kouame suit up for Gilas Pilipinas and possibly see action in the February window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers.    

Kouame, who hails from Abidjan, was recently named to the Gilas Pilipinas pool, which recently swept Thailand in the November window of the qualifiers held in Manama, Bahrain.

Because he was still not eligible to play, Kouame was not  able to join the team on the trip to the middle east country.

“Gilas Pilipinas is in need of a new breed of players, and I am hopeful that we will be able to include Mr. Kouame to their roster. But of course, we need more like him to ensure not only an exciting start but more importantly a strong finish in the next FIBA World Cup,” said Antipolo City 1st District Rep. Deputy Speaker Roberto “Robbie” V. Puno, who sponsored the bill supporting Kouame’s naturalization.

Last Monday, the De Liano brothers Juan and Javi took turns in rattling their Thailand rivals with their outside shooting.

This allowed young Gilas Pilipinas side to post their third straight win in the qualifiers, repeating over an experienced Thailand squad, 93-69.

The Philippines now owns the solo lead in Group A.

Congress has already granted Philippine citizenships to American cagers Andray Blatche and Marcus Douthit, who both hail from New York.

Under FIBA’s internal regulations,”foreign-born players with bloodline connection with the country they want to represent must prove their legal nationality through a passport obtained before turning age 16. Players who obtained their passport afterwards can still play but they would be considered as “naturalized” players by FIBA, rather than as a local. FIBA allows one naturalized player to be on the roster of a national team per game.”

Topics: Angelo Kouame , naturalized Filipino , Rodrigo Duterte , Gilas Pilipinas
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