SBP hopes Kouame can join Gilas by February
Angelo Kouame’s naturalization was passed on first reading in the House of Representatives on Wednesday and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio as well as Sen. Sonny Angara, the principal sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1892 filed last Oct. 22, are hopeful that the entire process can be fast-tracked so that Kouame can join Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in February.
“We’re very thankful that [his naturalization] was approved in the first reading,” Panlilio told the Inquirer over the phone. “Ange is very excited to join Gilas (as a naturalized player) and we just hope that he can join the team in the third window.”
The justice committee approved House Bill No. 5951, sponsored by Rep. Roberto Puno, and Kouame’s naturalization must get approval of both chambers and, later, President Duterte to be final.
Angara, meanwhile, took to Twitter to air his wish: “Hope we in the Senate can do this before Feb qualifiers. Angelo Kouame loves the Philippines has really put down roots and is thrilled at the prospect of being naturalized.”
“If it gets approved in the second reading, hopefully before Dec. 16 before the House takes a break, I’m hopeful that the third reading will just be a formality,” Panlilio went on.
Gilas will be playing South Korea and Indonesia in the third window, which the Philippines wishes to host in a bubble-style environment.
Andray Blatche was the last naturalized player to see action for Gilas and he produced some outstanding results.
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