Gilas Pilipinas: Ange Kouame naturalization bill filed

Philippine congressman Robbie Puno, who was chiefly responsible for the bills granting Filipino citizenships to Marcus Douthit and Andray Blatche, has filed a bill that seeks to naturalize Ateneo big man Ange Kouame.

Kouame was part of the UAAP Season 82 Blue Eagles championship squad, and was a runner-up in the MVP race.

Per an online report, Puno said he was in awe of Kouame’s performance for Ateneo.

“We marveled at his performance that helped clinch a 16-0 sweep for the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the 82nd Season of the UAAP. Mr. 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.”

The Ivory Coast native also participated in the Jones Cup that year.

At 6-10 and still of a youthful age, Kouame could be a good complement to Gilas Pilipinas’ future stars like Kai Sotto, Dave Ildefonso, and AJ Edu.

Aside from Kouame, having a bigger pool of naturalized players will be beneficial for Gilas, as injuries are always possible.

There also has been clamor for PBA imports like Justin Brownlee and Chris McCullough to undergo the naturalization process.

The Philippines is co-hosting the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Only Douthit and Blatche have represented the Philippines as naturalized players who didn’t have any Filipino lineage prior.