FIBA World Cup

Kouame naturalization not for naught even as Gilas eyes Clarkson for World Cup

Delfin Dioquino
Kouame naturalization not for naught even as Gilas eyes Clarkson for World Cup

Angelo Kouame of Gilas Pilipinas vs Boban Marjanovic of Serbia. FIBA


The SBP looks for Angelo Kouame to reinforce Gilas Pilipinas in the last two windows of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers and the Southeast Asian Games next year

MANILA, Philippines – Angelo Kouame remains a big part of Gilas Pilipinas even as it plans to employ NBA player Jordan Clarkson as its naturalized player for the FIBA World Cup.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios said Kouame knows Clarkson is the priority for the Philippines’ lone naturalized player spot, especially in the global hoops showdown that the country will co-host next year.

“If we decide on Jordan, yes,” said Barrios when asked if they are ruling out the Ateneo big man for the World Cup. “The answer is yes. And Ange is aware of that.”

“But, you know, it does not mean his naturalization will go to waste.”

Fact is, Kouame is being eyed to reinforce the national team in the fifth and sixth windows of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in November and February, respectively.

He is also primed to power the Philippines’ bid to reclaim the gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games in May next year considering Clarkson will not be around yet.

According to Barrios, Clarkson has committed to be available for national team duty at least six weeks before the World Cup, which tips off in August.

“We have a lot of tournaments where we can use Ange,” Barrios said.

Moreover, Kouame will serve as backup to Clarkson in case of emergency.

“If you put your marbles on one and if he gets injured or sick or whatever, you’re done for,” Barrios said. “We’re just making sure.”

Kouame remains sidelined by a knee injury as he sits out the Blue Eagles’ campaign in the World University Basketball Series in Japan. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.