The chance to play for Gilas Pilipinas is not the only thing that motivates Ange Kouame to become a Filipino citizen.
Kouame told members of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights that he envisions being in the Philippines beyond his desire to play for Gilas in international tournaments, particularly the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
“I feel my base is already stable here in the Philippines,” the Ateneo center said in the recent committee hearing presided by Senator Richard Gordon. “I think I would be living here as long as I want. So this is what I plan for the future.”
The committee chaired by Gordon approved Senate Bill No. 2058 and would need to be passed on the second and third reading in the plenary before it can be sent to Malacanang for President Duterte’s signature.
A house version of the bill was already passed on the third and final reading last week.
It appears all but a formality for Ivorian-born Kouame to become a Filipino, with the only question lingering is whether he can make it time for the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Clark, Pampanga.
No date has been set but the window, which was postponed following the decision of Doha to cancel its hosting, could be held next month.
Nonetheless, Kouame is looking forward to don the national team jersey which he described as a dream of his.
“This is what I really wanted, this is what I’ve been seeing in my dream,” he said. “I already call the Philippines my home and representing the Philippines is something that really came from the bottom of my heart.”