Ange Kouame raring to play for Gilas again

Ateneo’s Ange Kouame during a game against La Salle. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Ange Kouame is joining Gilas Pilipinas in its back-to-back away matches in the fifth window of the Fiba World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers next week with the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament also going on a break.

The naturalized center is eager to represent the flag if he makes the final roster after a knee injury forced him to miss stints with the national team since June.

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Gilas is scheduled to play Jordan on November 10 and Saudi Arabia on November 13.

“If I’m part of the lineup, I’m happy to join. At the end of the day, it’s something I love to do, playing basketball. If they call me, I will represent the country for sure,” said the reigning UAAP MVP after posting 11 points, 14 rebounds, five blocks, and three steals in Ateneo’s 68-54 victory over La Salle on Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The 6-foot-10 big man said he’s fit to play for the country despite the grueling schedule of the Blue Eagles’ campaign in the UAAP.

“Pretty good. For now, I’m still talking to the doctors if I should get surgery at the end of the season. But it will depend on how things go and how I feel at the end of the season. You’ll never know,” said Kouame, who averaged 5.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in two games played in the Asian Qualifiers.

The 24-year-old Kouame is just excited to play with PBA players, especially Japeth Aguilar, who has taken him under his wing.