Angelo Kouame gets Senate endorsement for PH naturalization

Ateneo star center Angelo Kouame for Gilas Pilipinas?

This may just be in the future of the national basketball team after Kouame got the endorsement of Senator Sonny Angara with the filing of the bill that will grant him Philippine citizenship.

The 20-year-old from Ivory Coast, who has 3 more playing years in the UAAP,  is set to become the youngest player in the country’s pool of naturalized players. (READ: How Angelo Kouame took his game from the streets to the Big Dome)

“We have seen what Kouame has accomplished as a member of the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the past 3 years and his game continues to develop,” Angara said.

"We have not seen the full potential of Kouame yet and his desire to continue developing his game here in the Philippines is something that is worth supporting."

“Ange has also shown a strong desire to continue living in the Philippines, which has been his home since 2016. I have no doubt he will provide an invaluable contribution to Philippine hoops for many years to come,” he added.

Angara, who is chairman of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), filed Senate Bill 1892 last Thursday, October 22, as part of the buildup plan for the country’s hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Senate Bill 1892 is a counterpart of House Bill 5951 filed by SBP vice chairman and Antipolo City Representative Robbie Puno.

Towering at 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. 

Before Kouame, Congress previously granted Philippine citizenship to Marcus Douthit and Andray Blatche, who both contributed to the development of the national team.

Douthit, though, has been inactive, while Blatche just turned 34 years old this year.

“I am excited to see our Gilas Pilipinas back in action too and with the likes of Kouame on their way to being part of the squad, the future is looking bright for Philippine hoops,” Angara said. –