NATURALIZATION NI KOUAME (Aprub na sa House panel)

Angelo Kouame

LUSOT na sa House Committee on Justice ang panukalang magkakaloob ng Philippine citizenship kay Angelo ‘Ange’ Kouame ng Ateneo Blue Eagles, na magpapahintulot sa kanya na maging bahagi ng Gilas Pilipinas, ang national team ng bansa para sa men’s basketball.

Si Kouame ay kabilang sa 16-man national team pool sa katatapos na window sa Manama, Bahrain, bagama’t hindi siya nakapaglaro dahil nakabimbin pa ang kanyang naturalization process.

Sa kanilang pagpupulong ay inaprubahan ng panel ang House Bill 5951 na inakda ni Deputy Speaker Roberto Puno, na nagsisilbing vice chairperson ng Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).

Ikinatuwa naman ni Puno ang kaganapan dahil target ng Gilas na dalhin si Kouame sa national team sa third window ng 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers sa Pebrero.

“I am thankful that my colleagues in the House of Representatives recognize the potential Mr. Kouame, who gave a stunning performance in the 82nd Season of the UAAP, can bring to our national team as they prepare to compete in the 2023 FIBA World Cup,” pahayag ni Puno.

“He’s just turning 23 years old before the end of the year, but no one can doubt the immense talent of Mr. Kouame, as shown in the recent 16-0 sweep of the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the recent UAAP season. I am hopeful that he will bring the same level of intensity as a member of Gilas Pilipinas. We just need to provide him with better opportunities to defend the Philippines internationally.”

Sa  UAAP Season 82, si Kouame ay may average na 12.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.9 blocks, at 1.4 assists para sa Blue Eagles.

“I am hopeful that he will bring the same level of intensity as a member of Gilas Pilipinas. We just need to provide him with better opportunities to defend the Philippines internationally,” ani Puno.

Naniniwala si Puno na makatutulong ang pool ng naturalized players sa tsansa ng koponan na magkuwalipika sa 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Sa kasalukuyan, pinapayagan lamang ng FIBA Internal Regulations ang isang national basketball team player na nakakuha ng legal nationality ng bansa sa pamamagitan ng naturalizations o sa iba pang paraan pagsapit ng edad 16.

“Gilas Pilipinas is in need of a new breed of players, and I am hopeful that we will be able to include Mr. Kouame to their roster,” sabi pa ni Puno.

Naghain din ng katulad na panukala sa Senado si SBP chairman at Sen. Sonny Angara noong nakaraang Oktubre 2.

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