Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) vice chairman Robbie Puno has filed House Bill No. 5951 seeking to grant Philippine citizenship to Ateneo slotman Ange Kouame.
“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,” said Puno who is also a Congressman for the First District of Antipolo.
The 20-year old Ivorian posted averages of 12.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.9 blocks, and 1.4 assists this past season as the Blue Eagles completed a 16-0 sweep for their 3rd straight UAAP title.
The SBP is in the process of forming a pool of naturalized players to give the national team options and flexibility as it prepares for the 2023 FIBA World Cup
Aside from Kouame, Brgy. Ginebra resident import Justin Brownlee and former San Miguel reinforcement are also being considered as pool prospects.
FIBA allows any member country to utilize one naturalized player for sanctioned tournaments with Amercian Marcus Douthit serving as the first ever to carry the Philippine colors.
“This pool of players would be valuable to our national team because the team would have more naturalized players to field in the case of injuries,” explained Puno.