Angelo Kouame is a whisker away from becoming a full-fledged Filipino.
Wednesday afternoon, the House Committee for Justice approved House Bill no. 5951, which seeks to grant the Ivorian Filipino citizenship.
And Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio feels very grateful for the ‘swift’ passage of the bill.
“The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas extends its gratitude to the House Committee on Justice for their swift approval of House Bill 5951 for the naturalization of Ange Kouame. We thank Congressman Robbie Puno for filing the bill and for being a constant ally of the Philippine basketball community.
“The SBP also thanks Senator Sonny Angara for filing Senate Bill no. 1982, the counterpart of the bill for the Senate,” said the amiable executive.
Last January, Puno, the SBP’s vice chairman, filed the bill, saying that the 6-foot-10 Atenean will be an excellent addition to the roster of the Philippine national team for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
For the federation, the performance of the young Gilas cadets during the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers’ Manama bubble — coupled with Kouame’s naturalization — are steps in the right direction heading into 2021.
“Our Gilas Pilipinas Men’s Team was able to jump-start our preparations for 2023 with their inspired performance in Manama, Bahrain in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and receiving this good news from the House of Representatives gives our program even more momentum,” said Panlilio.
“We remain hopeful that Kouame will be able to play as a Filipino at the soonest time possible as every FIBA window is an opportunity to build on the future of Philippine basketball.”
This February, Gilas face arch-rivals South Korea and Indonesia.