Press Release
February 24, 2021


SJEA: At the outset, I'd like to thank you for very promptly calling this hearing. The House passed the Kouame naturalization and the Marañon Morejon naturalization last week and you've acted very swiftly as you are known to do. Thank you, sir.

And I'd like to greet our co-workers in the government and all our resource persons here today, especially from the SBP. We have with us our executive director Danny Barrios, Executive Director Butch Antonio. They do all the heavy lifting. We just show up for the meetings and read our scripts.

Attorney Feliciano, he also came from law office we both came from, Chairman Dick. But yun nga, unfortunately, he cheers for the wrong team in the UAAP. Just kidding. And of course, my compadre, si former congressman Monico is here also.

To all, good morning.

I'm here, just like Senator Imee said, to support the two naturalization bills or the two topics of naturalization bills this morning.

For football, I'm in full support of the Zubiri Bill. Tama po si Majority Leader. It's not the height, or it's not the physical capacities - it's really more of skill. He mentioned Maradona and Messi is only 5'7", the lead scorer in the British premier league is only 5'9" and that's Mo Salah - so really, we welcome - we're lucky that there is such a skilled player who wishes to - may call the Philippines his home. So, we fully support that bill, Mr. chairman.

But of course, we are here not only as chairman of the SBP but also as a basketball fan for the Philippines. And you correctly mention, Mr. Chairman that your committee has the jurisdiction over this naturalization bills and the last bill we passed for our Philippine national team Gilas was in 2013 or 2014 -that's for Andre Blatche.

And he really helped us in our international tournaments. But he's hit the peak of his career and we need some fresh blood and Ange Kouame really provides that. He's one of the most exciting players in Ateneo and Ateneo is really unbeatable with Ange Kuoame there in the middle.

So, he would be a wonderful addition to our Philippine national team, Mr. chairman. He is a big mobile, big man who really can defend - you know, the name of the game in basketball now is pick and roll, but this guy can defend the little guys of the pick and roll, the quick point guards, once they said, the pick and (_) keep up on defense with the little guys and that's very important I think in the game of basketball now, that's why the old immobile centers are being becoming obsolete. The game of basketball has changed so much, Mr. Chairman.

The wonderful thing, as you mentioned is, I think Ange is not really here just to play basketball, but he's really here to make the Philippines his home. He's grown up, he has a barkada here, he has friends, he has an organization that cares for him and is really prepared to help him settle in - he's already settled in actually, but to help him settle in permanently as you said earlier in your remarks.

So, we fully support the naturalization of both Ange Kuoame and Bienvenido Marañon Morejon.

They would be wonderful additions to our national teams.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

News Latest News Feed