Tough battle vs Marjanovic learning experience for Kouame | Inquirer Sports

Tough battle vs Marjanovic learning experience for Kouame

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 07:19 PM July 01, 2021

Gilas' Angelo Koaume vs Serbia's Boban Marjanovic.

Gilas’ Angelo Koaume vs Serbia’s Boban Marjanovic. FIBA PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Ange Kouame is used to being the biggest guy around, but things were much different in his first taste of world competition when he matched up with 7-foot-4 giant Boban Marjanovic.

At 6-foot-10 or 6-foot-11, Kouame is an imposing presence but matching up against a bigger and stronger NBA veteran gave him loads of problems in Gilas’ opening game in the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

“It was super tough. I mean that was a battle for me,” said Kouame after Gilas’ 83-76 loss to Serbia in the group stage of the Belgrade leg of the qualifiers early Thursday (Manila time).

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“That was a battle for me. But the other guys in Gilas really helped me a lot especially in keeping him off the boards. Boban’s tall, he’s long, he has a huge wingspan so getting the rebound and being able to keep him out of the paint was the biggest problem for me.”

Marjanovic, who plays for the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA, finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Serbians but he did most of his damage in the final minutes of the fourth.

With Serbia down 74-73, Marjanovic went to work and went on a personal 8-2 run to give Serbia an 81-76 lead with 36 seconds to play.

‘LEARNING EXPERIENCE’

Kouame, for his part, had 17 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks to lead the Philippines on both ends of the floor.

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“I think the outcome, it is what it is. This is a great learning experience and I will learn from it. I try to picture it and get better for the next couple of players like him that I’m going to be against. So it is a great experience,” said Kouame.

“Actually it was a great learning experience for us. It was tough, especially to play against players that we idolized for long time. We’re really proud of ourselves, but we know this is not the main point right now because we have to focus on the future. We got to go back in the gym, get it right and then be prepared for the next game because this is what matters right now.”

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The Philippines has one more game in the group stage when it takes on the Dominican Republic on Friday with the winner advancing to the knockout stage of the tournament.

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TAGS: Ange Kouame, Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Gilas Pilipinas

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