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Rep. Puno seeks naturalization of Angelo Kouame

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Tiebreaker Times Rep. Puno seeks naturalization of Angelo Kouame ADMU Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  Robbie Puno Gilas Pilipinas Men Angelo Kouame

On Monday, Antipolo City 1st District representative and Deputy Speaker Robbie Puno urged the House of Representatives to naturalize the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ Ivorian center Angelo Kouame.

Puno has filed House Bill No. 5951 which seeks to grant Philippine citizenship to Kouame. He states that the 20-year-old Ivorian center would be an excellent addition to the roster of the Philippine national team for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

“We marveled at his performance that helped clinch a sixteen-and-O sweep for the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the Eighty-Second Season of the UAAP. Mister Kouame may have had little knowledge of basketball before he came to our shores, but we cannot deny the immense potential he has shown by now,” said the lawmaker.

FIBA Internal Regulations allows one naturalized player in a national basketball team —a rule which Puno said many member countries used to their advantage.

To date, the Philippines has so far only fielded two naturalized players Marcus Douthit and Andray Blatche; Congress naturalized the latter just in time for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Puno maintained that in order to boost the national team’s chances at victory in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, a pool of naturalized players must be in place.

“This pool of players would be valuable to our national team because the team would have more naturalized players to field in the case of injuries,” said the lawmaker.

“Such a resource would be useful, because we would be able to match what we need to win from a roster of naturalized players. The choice would never be just one player. We could have Mr. Kouame and many other promising athletes there, ready to be assigned to a match as needed.”

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