Congress approves Kouame naturalization papers

Published February 16, 2021, 10:53 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Photo from UAAP

The naturalization bid of Angelo Kouame at the House of Representatives took a big stride after House Bill No. 8632 was approved on the third and last reading Tuesday.

Kouame, a native of Ivory Coast, is part of the Gilas Pilipinas training for various international tournaments, particularly the 2023 FIBA World Cup the country is co-hosting with Japan and Indonesia.

Rep. Robbie Puno of Antipolo City, also the vice chairman of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), authored the bill, which received 210-0 votes on the third and last reading.

The naturalization papers of Kouame are now in the Senate where it needs approval under Senate Bill No. 1892 penned by Senator Sonny Angara, currently the chairman of the local basketball federation.

If it gets the Senate approval, the last step for Kouame’s naturalization papers is to get the signature of President Duterte for it to become a law – same with the case of Marcus Douthit and Andrey Blatche, who both went the process that allowed them to play for Gilas.

Kouame, 23, won Rookie of the Year in the UAAP three years ago as a member of Ateneo’s basketball team, and during the 2019 Season, he helped the Blue Eagles to a 16-0 sweep on their way to the title.

Kouame, who moved to the Philippines in 2016, has career averages of 12.5 points, 11.79 rebounds, and 3.86 blocks.