Kouame knows pressure of being PH’s naturalized player, vows to be at his best for country


Angelo Kouame in a Gilas Pilipinas jersey. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The load of his new distinction isn’t misplaced on Ange Kouame, the Philippine cage program’s newly-naturalized participant.And neither the psychological baggage that comes with it.

“After all, there’s strain,“ he informed Inquirer’s SportsIQ on Friday.

“I’m the youngest naturalized participant. I really feel the strain.” Kouame, initially from the Ivory Coast, acquired Filipino citizenship by the use of a invoice that President Duterte signed into regulation earlier this week.

He follows the footsteps of Marcus Douthit and Andray Blatche—the latter, a well-traveled professional and an NBA veteran—who have been each integral within the Philippines’ first World Cup look in 36 years.

Kouame is aware of precisely how huge the footwear he’s about to fill along with his new function at Gilas Pilipinas. And he’s completely effective with that—a rarity amongst most cagers his age.

“The factor is, I do know the sort of participant I’m,” he stated. “So to be targeted on objectives, to have the ability to transfer ahead, [to] study from errors—that’s my mindset.

“The strain, I can’t deny that,” he added. “I’m simply going with the circulation and praying to God that all the things goes nicely.”

Foundational piece

One merely wants to take a look at Kouame’s age to grasp how the function of the 6-foot-10 star out of Ateneo differs from his predecessors. Douthit was naturalized when he was already 31 and Blatche when he was 28. Kouame, already with a high-IQ, tireless motor and a extremely developable skillset at 23, provides the nationwide program a foundational piece it may construct round for years to come back.

Jong Uichico, the coach of Gilas Pilipinas squad within the final window of the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers stated Kouame’s age is ideal for this system because it provides the nationwide crew time to provide the athletic beanpole an opportunity to achieve worldwide publicity.

“That’s the good factor, Kouame has time to achieve worldwide expertise as a result of he’s younger and prepared to study,” Uichico stated.

Former nationwide coaches Chot Reyes of TNT and Yeng Guiao of NLEX additionally had good phrases for Kouame, saying he was good for the nationwide crew as a result of his being based mostly right here permits him to develop with the squad.“Apart from what I really feel that he’s actually the kind of participant we’d like, his development [with the team] will develop not solely bodily but in addition with a way of intimacy,” stated Guiao.


“Apart from having the instruments to be a world large man, what Kouame brings to that crew—his presence within the nation—is an important factor,” Reyes added.

One other former nationwide coach, Norman Black of Meralco, stated Kouame can have the possibility to develop alongside younger bigs just like the 7-foot-3 Kai Sotto and the 6-foot-10 AJ Edu.

“We’re not simply large, we’re big,” Black stated.

Kouame was grateful for the present of confidence from the coaches however, in a sign of simply how proper he’s for the job, he stated he envisions himself as a piece in progress.

“As a participant, I do know I lack quite a bit in sure areas. However every day is a method for me to get higher,” stated Kouame.

“That’s all that’s in my thoughts proper now: being a greater model of myself,” he added.

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