Kouame vows to work hard

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    IF he becomes a naturalized player for Gilas Pilipinas, Ateneo center Angelo Kouame has vowed to work hard and prove he has what it takes.

    “Who would’ve thought that I’d become a Filipino naturalized player? I’m not Filipino from blood but I already committed myself a hundred percent to it,”

    Kouame said on Tiebreakertimes’ 2OT podcast.

    “I really want to do it. I really want to be a part of it,” he added.

    The 6-foot-10 native of Ivory Coast is the leading candidate to become the new Gilas naturalized player.

    Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman and Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara filed last Oct. 22 Senate Bill 1892 seeking to grant Philippine citizenship to the hulking Kouame.

    At Congress, SBP vice-chairman and Antipolo City 1st District Rep. Robbie Puno authored House Bill 5951 last January 21.

    Similarly, House Bill No. 8016, authored by 1-Pacman Rep. Mikee Romero as well as Congressmen Enrico Pineda, Eric Aristotle Aumentado, and Scott Davies Lanete, seeks to grant Filipino citizenship to Ginebra do-it-all import Justin Brownlee.

    Should he become a naturalized Filipino, Kouame can reinforce Gilas in the third window of the qualifiers in February next year.

    Kouame averaged 12.5 points and 11.5 rebounds for the Blue Eagles in the last UAAP cage wars when Ateneo bagged its third straight title via a 16-0 season.

    A former Rookie of the Year awardee in 2018, Kouame is eligible to suit up for the Eagles for three more years.

    Kouame, who will turn 23 on Dec. 15, relishes the chance to play for Gilas.

    “Coming from an African country, we don’t really get opportunities,” he said.