MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Ateneo de Manila University's Ange Kouame has been included in the 16-man pool of Gilas Pilipinas for the upcoming window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers.
Bannering the group are the five PBA players lent to the national team program -- Isaac Go, Matt and Mike Nieto, Allyn Bulanadi, and Rey Suerte.
Also part of the pool are brothers Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano and Jaydee Tungcab, along with Dwight Ramos and Dave Ildefonso -- all of whom trained with the national team during the first qualification window last February. Ramos and Juan Gomez de Liano made it to the final roster that played against Indonesia.
Kouame's naturalization papers are still pending, as per Ryan Gregorio, the special assistant to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio. In late October, Senator Sonny Angara filed Senate Bill 1892 which calls for the granting of Philippine citizenship to Kouame.
SB 1892 is a counterpart of House Bill 5951 filed by Antipolo City Rep. Robbie Puno.
Kobe Paras, Justine Baltazar, Will Navarro, Kenmark Carino, and Calvin Oftana complete the Gilas Pilipinas pool.
No professional players are included in the pool, as the PBA's season is still ongoing in Clark, Pampanga. It also remains to be seen who will coach the squad as Mark Dickel, who called the shots in the first qualifying window, is with TNT Tropang Giga in the PBA bubble.
The Philippines will play its upcoming games in a "bubble" in Manama, Bahrain, along with the other Group A teams in South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Gilas Pilipinas has played just one game in the qualifiers, routing Indonesia, 100-70, in February.