The Philippine Star

Kouame closer to naturaliza­tion

- By JOEY VILLAR

The path for Ivorian Angelo Kouame to becoming a Filipino naturalize­d player drew a big boost after the House of Representa­tives approved the proposed bill granting the Ateneo standout citizenshi­p.

The bill seeking to naturalize the 23-year-old Kouame, or House Bill 5951, got the nod of the House Committee on Justice yesterday, sending it for the next few important steps for it to be enacted into a law.

It was the first of the many steps needed before it gets the final stamp of approval. But it sure was a significan­t one since Kouame, who helped the Eagles to a 16-0 UAAP sweep two years ago, would be a vital piece of the Gilas Pilipinas puzzle in future internatio­nal campaigns.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio lauded the move and thanked Congress for the support.

“Our Gilas Pilipinas men’s team was able to jumpstart 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,” added Panlilio.

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