Kouame gets FIBA green light
Angelo Kouame

Kouame gets FIBA green light

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - June 13, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The International Basketball Federation has approved the registration of Angelo Kouame as a Gilas Pilipinas player, clearing the way for his debut in next week’s FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Clark.

Standing 6-foot-10 and agile for a big man, the Ivorian-born Kouame is considered a major piece of the Gilas program moving forward.

The ultimate goal is to strongly compete in the FIBA World Cup in 2023 but the first step begins in the June 16-20 Continental Qualifiers, where youth-laden Gilas faces off with Asian power South Korea and vastly-improved Indonesia.

“As we’ve always said, the earlier we see Ange wearing a Gilas jersey for an official FIBA game, the better it would be for our program in the long run,” Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio said.

“We’re thrilled that he’ll get the chance to play in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers here at home and we cannot wait to see him and the rest of the team in action,” he added.

The 23 year-old Kouame, who gained Philippine citizenship last month and acquired his passport last week, takes the place of former naturalized players Marcus Douthit and Andray Blatche. Unlike his predecessors, though, the Ateneo slotman is coming in “green.”

“We know the potential is there but potential takes time to evolve and be realized with a lot of hard work,” Gilas program director Tab Baldwin said.

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