MANILA, Philippines — Starting Tuesday, Ateneo center Ange Kouame is officialy a Filipino citizen after President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the bill granting naturalization to the Ivorian big man.
Kouame confirmed the news on his personal Twitter account, where he tweeted: "Pre, Filipino ako!"
A towering defensive force, the 6-foot-10 center was instrumental to the dominant championship run of the Blue Eagles. He averaged 12.5 points, 11.8 boards, 2.9 blocks and 1.4 assists in his last season as the Eagles fashioned out a 16-0 season sweep bagged their third straight UAAP title.
Pre , Filipino ako ! ????????
— kouameangelo1 (@kouameangelo1) May 18, 2021
According to Commonwealth Act No. 473, there are six requirements for the naturalization process:
- Be over 21 years old the day petition is filed
- Have lived in the Philippines for at least a 10 year continuous period
- Be of good moral character and in support of the Philippine constitution
- Possess at least P5,000 in real estate, money or have a lucrative job
- Have the ability to speak or read English, Spanish or one of the other main languages of the country
- If the applicant has minor children they must be enrolled in a school recognized by the Bureau of Education.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas was elated with news of Kouame's naturalization.
"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," SBP president Al Panlilio said.
Pending the remaining requirements, Kouame will now be able to represent the Philippines as part of its young Gilas Pilipinas team in its upcoming FIBA campaigns overseas. With the naturalization, though, he will no longer be able to play for Ivory Coast.
Already, the Blue Eagle has been training with the Gilas Pilipinas pool for almost a year in preparation for the FIBA Asia qualifiers.
Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com