Kouame officially a naturalized Filipino ahead of Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers
MANILA, Philippines — Angelo Kouame moved closer to finally suit up for Gilas Pilipinas after President Rodrigo Duterte signed his naturalization into law, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas announced Tuesday.
Once he gets clearance from Fiba, Kouame will see action for Gilas in the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in Clark and next month and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Serbia.
“Koaume will now undergo the final steps required by FIBA before a naturalized player can suit up for a country and we are confident that he’ll be able to play during our hosting of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Serbia,” the SBP said in a statement.
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— kouameangelo1 (@kouameangelo1) May 18, 2021
“Although Kouame’s presence is crucial for these two tournaments, having him as an official member of the squad in the upcoming games is an early investment as we build towards the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.”
The 6-foot-10 Ivorian center has been training with Gilas, which re-entered its bubble in Calamba, Laguna late last month.
The addition of Kouame in the lineup for the upcoming tournaments will be a big boost to the Philippine team, which will be made up of the cadets and the Gilas draftees.
Wunderkind Kai Sotto has also reaffirmed his commitment to play for Gilas, which plays rival South Korea twice and Indonesia in the Clark qualifiers.
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