ONE more reading and both Ange Kouame and Bienve Marañon are just a signature away from being full-fledged Filipinos.
Senate Bill No. 1391, filed by Sen. Migz Zubiri for Maranon, and Senate Bill No. 2058, authored by Sen. Dick Gordon for Kouame, have passed the second reading in the Senate on Tuesday.
Moreover, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman Sen. Sonny Angara has made amendments on both bills, indicating that their naturalization, upon their publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation, must take effect immediately as compared to the initial submission which indicated 15 days after.
Both bills need to pass the final reading in the upper chamber before it can be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte, who will sign the said bills into law.
Kouame, an Ivorian center, is seeking to be a naturalized player for Gilas Pilipinas in its buildup for the 2023 Fiba Asia Cup here.
He currently plays for Ateneo and was a former UAAP Rookie of the Year.
Meanwhile, Marañon is a Spanish striker for United City FC who has led his club, formerly known as Ceres-Negros, to four Philippines Football League titles.
His naturalization will be a huge boost for the Philippine Azkals in the AFC Asian Cup.