Ateneo’s Kouame betting on himself
The idea of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) investing in a young athlete instead of a veteran is not lost on Angelo Kouame, whose Filipino citizenship has inched closer to becoming a reality.
Kouame emerged as the prime choice for Gilas Pilipinas’ naturalized player, overtaking the bids of Justin Brownlee and Chris McCullough, two international journeymen who both had commendable stints in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
“I feel blessed about it,” Kouame said of the national federation’s decision to go with him during a television appearance in ONE Sports on Thursday night.
“We know those two players (Brownlee and McCullough), and the impact they have [made] in the [PBA],” he went on.But as early as now, the Ivory Coast native is already betting on himself.
“I’m sure I can be of the same caliber like those guys,” he said.
Kouame hurdled the first step in the Senate level on Wednesday after gaining the nod of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon.
If everything falls into place in time and Kouame is naturalized early, the young cager will be able to backstop Gilas in its campaign in the third window of the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) Asia Cup qualifiers sometime next month.
At just 23, Kouame sure has his work cut out for him. But the Ateneo big man, who served as the Blue Eagles’ anchor in their last two University Athletics Association of the Philippines title romps, has faith that he’ll eventually prove that he is worthy of all of SBP’s troubles.
“On my side, I think I know my game, too. I know [how I] work. I know where I am getting [at]. I know how the learning process is going to be for me,” he said.
In fact, he has already set his sights on the possibility of Gilas playing as a guest team in the PBA in the upcoming season.
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