“Pre, Filipino ako,” Ateneo star Angelo Kouame tweeted who is now officially a Filipino citizen as President Rodrigo Duterte signed the naturalization bill.

/ 18 May 2021

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) announced the new development and can now have Kouame gun the Gilas for their two upcoming tournaments.

“The SBP extends our appreciation to President Rodrigo Duterte for signing it into law and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Senator Bong Go for their assistance,” SBP president Al Panlilio said in a statement.

The next step for the Ivorian star is to undergo an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines administered by the Bureau of Immigration then apply for a Philippine passport.

“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,” Panlilio shared.

“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,” he added.

Moreover, Panlilio expressed his gratitude to all the people who were involved in the naturalization of Kouame.

“The SBP thanks all of our allies in both houses whose support has been crucial in pushing this legislation to further strengthen our Gilas Pilipinas Men,” he said.

“It’s a great day for Philippine basketball and we’re thankful for the full support of our basketball community.”