Tue. Sep 26th, 2023

Ange Kouame (left) offers added measurement and a willingness to combine it up beneath the basket. —FIBA PHOTO

He could also be talked about final among the many nation’s naturalized standouts, however that hasn’t given Ange Kouame any cause to be detached towards the nationwide basketball program.

As an alternative, the Ivory Coast native has at all times made himself out there for the nationwide group and the 6-foot-10 huge man is doing it once more for the squad that may compete within the nineteenth Asian Video games in Hangzhou, China, this weekend.

“I’m actually excited to be a part of this system once more, I’m additionally excited after I obtained the decision from coach (Tim Cone) himself,” he instructed the Inquirer throughout one of many apply classes at PhilSports Enviornment in Pasig Metropolis.

“I’m actually completely satisfied to have the ability to signify this nation and play and have enjoyable with the fellows,” the ace out of Ateneo added.

Even with a European membership trying to safe his providers, Kouame has lengthy behaved like an expert, coaching with Gilas within the Baltic states when it was getting ready for the World Cup, after which nonetheless displaying up in practices within the buildup for the continental showcase.

The 25-year-old middle is at present exhausting at work all through the camp at Encourage Sports activities Academy in Calamba, Laguna, the place the nationwide group is coaching.

Technically the lone newbie in a squad plagued by professionals, Kouame can be raring to show that he can maintain his personal in a discipline of battle-hardened veterans when the Philippines’ marketing campaign opens in opposition to Bahrain on Sept. 26.

“I believe I’m ready,” he mentioned of dealing with skilled professionals, taller opponents and different naturalized gamers within the regional meet.

“It received’t be the primary time. However I believe I’ll be able to be in that scenario as nicely—particularly as this group’s muscle. Basketball’s a very aggressive sport so we’ll compete in opposition to one another,” he added.

Ange Kouame (left) offers added measurement and a willingness to combine it up beneath the basket. —FIBA PHOTO

Key asset

Kouame’s presence retains the nation’s frontline comparatively tall even after AJ Edu and Kai Sotto each determined to concentrate on their professional careers in Japan.

Thrown in with June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, and even Mo Tautuaa, the previous UAAP Most Beneficial Participant needs to be a key asset on each ends of the courtroom.

And Cone feels that that’s precisely what the nationwide group wants because it tries to shoot for a gold medal.

“We’ve obtained Mo, Japeth Ange after which June Mar. We’ve obtained good measurement,” he mentioned. “We’re not going to get outsized over there [in the Asian Games]. We’ll have a chance with Center Japanese groups and China with our measurement.” INQ

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