UAAP: On explosive night, Ange Kouame credits team effort for Ateneo’s Game 2 win
MANILA, Philippines — Ange Kouame deflected the credit to his teammates as Ateneo lived another day with a 65-55 win to prevent University of the Philippines from completing a sweep of the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball Finals on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The naturalized Gilas Pilipinas center took matters into his own hands as he led the Blue Eagles with 19 points, 11 rebounds, three steals, three blocks, and two assists before 20,616 fans at the Big Dome to force a winner-take-all Game 3 on Monday.
But Kouame insisted it was a total team effort that helped Ateneo bounce back from a tough Game 1 loss last Sunday.
“I think it’s a team effort. It’s not just about me getting a double-double,” he said during the postgame press conference.
The 6-foot-10 center lauded Kai Ballungay, who bounced back from a scoreless Game 1 performance with 15 points and five rebounds, as well as bench players Geo Chiu and Sean Quitevis.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the whole team. What I really want to talk about is the performance of the whole team. Bench, Geo stepping up, Kai Ballungay stepping up, even Sean Quitevis,” Kouame said.
Chiu provided quality minutes as Kouame’s backup, tallying six points, four rebounds, one block, and an assist, while Quitevis provided the intangibles and great defensive effort, with BJ Andrade in foul trouble with four personal fouls that limited him to 10 minutes of playing time.
“BJ Andrade got into foul trouble. I just wanted to assure him that we had his back. Because I feel like our team is built on brotherhood,” said Quitevis.
Kouame, the Season 84 MVP, also credited the gesture of the former Blue Eagles, who visited and had a long talk during their Monday practice.
He’s grateful to have the same determination as his teammates as they seek to redeem themselves after losing the previous Finals Game 3 to UP last May.
“It really makes me feel in the right position to be able to be with them and see that they really want it as much as I want it,” he said.
Kouame has a chance to end his collegiate career and year 2022 by reclaiming the lost glory of Ateneo in another epic winner-take-all match next week.
Ateneo forces a do-or-die Game 3
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Wednesday, December 14, 2022