As Gilas moves to all-cadet pool, Kouame upbeat about naturalization, national team

Mar 9, 2021

AS his naturalization process moves forward, Angelo Kouame is closely following Gilas' journey. He's also hopeful that his citizenship bid will be approved by legislators in the earliest time possible.

The 6-foot-10 Ateneo Blue Eagles center could be a big boost to the all-cadet squad that will be sent to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Serbia after Samahahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio confirmed that no PBA players will be part of the pool.

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“I feel great, it felt great. I’ve been waiting for it for a long time to push through and I’m just so excited. I’m definitely feeling upbeat and more excited,” he told SPIN Life.

The big man from the Ivory Coast previously suited up for the Blue Eagles in the 2018 Jones Cup. He also steered the team to two straight UAAP men’s basketball titles, and was hailed Rookie of the Year in season 81.

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But he's dead set on achieving more.

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    Although many are already speculating on what he can bring to the table, the 23-year-old has kept his feet on the ground, and revealed he’s taking the process day by day, with no pressure on himself.

    “Right now, I just want to take things easily. Try to learn more about the game. Try to figure out things on how I’m gonna impact the game,” he said. “For now, I’m just a student of the game and I’m still learning.”

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    Panlilio named him and Kai Sotto as possible additions to the team, to beef up the all-cadet pool comprised of the 2019 PBA special draft picks and this March’s picks.

    SBP targets to begin the Gilas bubble training by the end of the month.

    Kouame’s case still needs to clear three more readings in the Senate before it could be forwarded to the Office of the President for signing.

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    Just last week, Sen. Bong Go backed the bill, co-sponsoring it alongside Sen. Pacquiao and Sen. Joel Villanueva.

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