The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is now targeting Ateneo de Manila University’s Ivorian big man Angelo Kouame to be the next naturalized player of Gilas Pilipinas.
The Season 81 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Rookie of the Year got the needed endorsement from Antipolo City Representative and SBP vice-chairman Robbie Puno to undergo naturalization process, which starts at the House of Representative.
“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,” Puno said.
He has filed House Bill 5951 that seeks the grant to give the 20-year old Kouame the Filipino citizenship.
The six-foot-10 averaged 12.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in the Blue Eagles’ three-peat run in the UAAP.
Puno said having Kouame in the pool of naturalized players would be a welcome development for the national team.
“This pool of players would be valuable to our national team because the team would have more naturalized players to field in case of injuries,” Puno said.
“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.”