Ateneo’s Ange Koume regains old form, wins UAAP Finals MVP
MANILA, Philippines — Ange Kouame saved the best for last as he was crowned Finals MVP after bringing Ateneo back on top in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament on Monday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The naturalized center ended his UAAP career with three championships.
Kouame, who turned 25 on Thursday, completed Ateneo’s comeback to dethrone University of the Philippines, 75-68, in a winner-take-all Game 3 on Monday before 21,814 fans.
The 6-foot-10 big man took matters into his own hands, posting 19 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocks as Ateneo clinched its fourth title in five seasons and 12th overall.
He averaged 17.7 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks in the finals to avenge Ateneo’s heartbreaking finals loss in Season 84 last May when he won the Season MVP.
Ateneo lost Game 1, 72-66, despite Kouame’s 15-point and 10-rebound performance. The ace center equalized the series in Game 2 leading their 65-55 victory with 19 points, 11 boards, three steals, three blocks, and two assists last week.
Kouame suffered a partial ACL tear and meniscal strain on his knee last June. He had his struggles in the elimination round and played some games in limited minutes but he left everything out on the floor in their second finals duel with UP.
The Gilas Pilipinas reinforcement finished his collegiate career with a Rookie of the Year plum in 2018, a Season 84 MVP and mythical team award last May, before winning the Finals MVP with three titles.
Kouame offered their success to the Ateneo community.
“Maraming maraming salamat sa lahat! Ateneo this is for you!” said Kouame after winning the championship.