Filipino basketball players

‘Pre, Filipino ako’: Angelo Kouame gets PH citizenship

Beatrice Go

'PINOY AKO'. Angelo Kouame is set to join Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Josh Albelda/Rappler

Angelo Kouame is officially a Filipino citizen!

Ateneo Ivorian center Angelo Kouame officially acquired his Filipino citizenship on Tuesday, May 18, which will allow him to play for Gilas Pilipinas.

“I seriously don’t know how to express my emotions right now but I’m proud to be a kababayan,” said Kouame.

“Thanks to all the people that were part of this process helping in the up and down. Thank you Lord for the opportunity given and let’s keep moving, business ain’t done. Puso!!!”

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The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) announced that the naturalization process was finally completed after President Rodrigo Duterte signed it into a law.

SBP president Al Panlilio bared that Kouame is currently completing the FIBA requirements for naturalized players and is set to see action with the Philippine men’s national basketball team in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers and Olympic Qualifying Tournament in June.

“Although Kouame’s presence is crucial for these two tournaments, having him as an official member of the squad in the games is an early investment as we build towards the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup,” added Panlilio.

Kouame is currently with Gilas Pilipinas in the training bubble in the National University (NU) Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.

SBP chairman Senator Sonny Angara, who endorsed the 23-year-old’s bill in the upper chamber, said Kouame “will definitely beef up our talented Gilas squad and bring with him the hard work and tenacity that has helped deliver championships” to Ateneo in the UAAP.

The 6-foot-10 Kouame, averaged 12.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 1.4 assists in UAAP Season 82, which was vital to Ateno’s 16-0 sweep and three-peat title romp. –

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.