Ange Kouame always ready for Gilas call-up: ‘I’m still Filipino’
MANILA, Philippines — Ange Kouame understands the situation of the Gilas Pilipinas in choosing between Jordan Clarkson and Justin Brownlee for the lone naturalized player spot for the Fiba World Cup 2023.
The three-time UAAP champion out of Ateneo, who received his Filipino citizenship two years ago, has yet to play for the national since the fifth window of the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers last year with coach Chot Reyes deciding to field Brownlee for the final window last February and their recent gold medal run in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.
But Kouame is taking it in stride.
“Honestly, I understand that things change and situations happen but I still have to stick to the job because this is what I stand for and I play for,” the 6-foot-10 center told reporters after receiving the 2022-23 Collegiate Press Corps Basketball Player of the Year and two Mythical Five selections on Monday.
“It is what it is so I’m just gonna go with the flow. I’m just gonna keep working every day,” he added.
The Season 85 Finals MVP said he will always be there for Gilas whenever he got a call-up.
“Yeah for sure, hundred percent, because at the end of the day, I’m still Filipino. If the call is there, I’ll [take it],” said Kouame, who also won the Season 84 MVP.
Kouame, who suffered a knee injury in June last year, still played through pain in Season 85 and led the Blue Eagles to exact sweet revenge on the UP Fighting Maroons in the Finals.
When asked who should Gilas pick between Brownlee and Clarkson, Kouame answered: “Bakit (Why)? Angelo Kouame kasi” while sharing laughter with reporters.
But kidding aside, the Gilas naturalized center said Clarkson and Brownlee will be a great fit for the national team, regardless of who will make it to the final cup for the World Cup.
“Anyway, I think both of them can suit pretty well with the national team, especially in scoring balls and everything. They can do a good job, whether you think it’s Justin Brownlee or Jordan Clarkson,” he said.