Ateneo’s Angelo Kouame nears Filipino citizenship
MANILA, Philippines – A committee in the House of Representatives approved Wednesday a bill granting Philippine citizenship to the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ Ivorian basketball star Angelo “Ange” Kouame.
During its meeting, the House committee on justice approved House Bill No. 5951, which would grant the 6-foot-10 athlete Filipino citizenship. With its approval in the committee level, Kouame’s citizenship bid now only needs to be approved on second and third reading to completely hurdle the House.
“His story is much like some of our own sports icons. He grew up poor, persevered, honed his craft, and is now a powerhouse in his game,” Rep. Roberto Puno, who authored the bill, said.
“Hailing from the Ivory Coast, Mr. Kouame took the risk of going to a country halfway around the world when he went to the Philippines in 2016 to try out for the Blue Eagles, leaving behind his mother and five siblings. Since then the 6-foot-10 Ivorian center has made the Philippines his home and has quickly made a name for himself in collegiate basketball,” Puno added.
Puno said Kouame will be a “great addition” to Philippine basketball and the Philippine sporting community.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio, who was present in the meeting, said that the Philippines eyes to progress in the international basketball ranking by excelling in different tournaments.
“Almost every team have a naturalized player especially in our region because the Europeans are very big,” Panlilio said.
“We are hoping with Ange here–He’s been here for four years. And I think it is an investment for the national team program of the SBP with Ange to be with us maybe for the next 10 to 15 years,” he added.
In the same meeting, the committee also approved the citizenship bid of football player Bienvenido Maranon who has been playing in the Asian Football Confederation Champions League.
“In his five-year football career in the Philippines, Maranon has shown exceptional skills complemented by commendable work ethics. He is known as one of the most prolific scorers in Southeast Asia,” Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez, who filed the bill for Maranon’s citizenship, said.
“If granted the opportunity to play for the Philippines, Maranon will undoubtedly be an invaluable asset to the national football team, the Azkals, and brin pride and honor to our country,” Lopez added.
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