Kouame stresses desire to join Gilas program
Angelo Kouame has chosen to go through the naturalization process to play for Gilas Pilipinas
Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas

Kouame stresses desire to join Gilas program

Luisa Morales (Philstar.com) - November 29, 2020 - 2:08pm

MANILA, Philippines — Ange Kouame is mere months away from putting on a Gilas Pilipinas uniform, with his naturalization already in progress in Congress and the Senate.

And for the 6'10" big man from Ateneo, it could not come soon enough.

The cager out of the Ivory Coast recently spoke about his enthusiasm to join the national team program.

"Who would've thought that I'll become a Filipino naturalized player? I'm not Filipino from the blood but I already committed myself a hundred percent  to it," said Kouame during the recent episode of Tiebreaker Vods' 2OT.

"I really want to do it. I really want to be a part of it," he said.

Though the cager himself was fully committed from the start, a little persuasion was needed on the part of his mother, who had worries about Kouame's naturalization.

"She was afraid that I'm going to lose my Ivorian citizenship. That's why I asked permission from my mom. I wanted to see her reaction before making my decision," he said.

Months of back-and-forth between Kouame and his mother eventually led to an agreement. It is now up to the Congress the Senate on whether or not he gets to represent the Philippines sooner than later.

With Ateneo and the Gilas program giving his basketball a big boost, Kouame could not help but express his gratefullness at the chances given to him.

"Coming from an African country, we don't really get opportunities. I really appreciate people welcoming me," said Kouame.

The big man was initially part of the Gilas pool bound for Manama, Bahrain for the 2nd window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.

He had also begun training with the cadet-laden squad that went to Bahrain in a bubble in Calamba, Laguna prior to their departure for the FIBA pocket tournament.

Kouame's next chance at his first-ever appearance for Gilas Pilipinas will be at the third window slated for February.

Should his naturalization come in time for the next window of the qualifiers, Kouame will surely be a big boost to the Gilas program.

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