Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tiebreaker Times
Photo from FIBA.basketball

2021 FIBA Asia Cup

Angelo Kouame bares Gilas debut was toughest game he played in

Angelo Kouame finally made his Gilas Pilipinas debut, Wednesday evening at the AUF Sports & Cultural Center in Pampanga.

And it was a memorable one as it was up against the country’s archnemesis in the region, South Korea.

Safe to say, it was the most emotional and physical game the 23-year-old naturalized Filipino ever figured in.

“That was the toughest game of my entire career but I’m expecting to see more games like that,” shared Kouame.

“It’s an experience we have to learn from and keep moving.”

Despite not having a crowd in attendance, it was a highly emotional affair as there was no need to have a backstory for the tilt.

The Philippines, which has been handed numerous heartbreaks by the Koreans over the past three decades, were trying to protect home court. South Korea, on the other hand, was trying to avenge its last loss in the country that happened back in 2013.

It was also personal for Kouame as he wanted to prove that he deserved to be part of Gilas despite his young age.

We actually were focused. No matter what the result was going to be, we were going to stay together. As my first international game, I was surprised with how things went, how tough it was,” recalled Kouame.

“As the game went on, we had to improvise and go with the flow.”

The 7-foot big man actually had quite a game, tallying 12 points built on three triples along with six boards, an assist, and a block.

#ReadMore  Alex Compton on Calvin Abueva's absence: 'Life's bigger than the game'

However, the Ateneo standout almost experienced the South Korean nightmare himself.

With 10 seconds left and Gilas clinging to a 76-75 lead, Kouame scored a bucket over Lee Hyunjung plus the harm. However, Kouame missed the free throw that led to a breakaway triple for Lee that tied things up.

“I missed the free throw so I was thinking that if we were going to lose this game, it’s going to be my fault.

“But coach Tab [Baldwin] gave me a quick reminder to not think about the last play. It’s the next play that matters so I focused on what was going to happen next,” he shared.

In the ensuing play, SJ Belangel knocked down a miracle buzzer-beater to give Gilas an 81-78 win.

Yes, Belangel saved the day not just for Gilas but also Kouame.

And Kouame is just grateful to be part of the nationals’ historic win.

“I feel super proud to play my first game as a Filipino. This has been the result of all we’ve done from the naturalization thing to all the practices. I’m really blessed be with this team, with these young guys,” said the Ivory Coast-born center.

“It’s all love we share with each other and we appreciate the game no matter what happens.”

Written By

Tiebreaker Times Logo

You May Also Like

News

BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — The streaking Choco Mucho averted a major collapse in the third set to send Black Mamba-Army to the brink of...

Basketball

PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — Mac Cardona played his best game in a Zamboangq City jersey in the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup,...

News

BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — When Motolite disbanded early this year, Isa Molde was left with no squad heading to the first-ever professional conference of...

Basketball

PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — Fifth-ranked Zamboanga City banked on its pesky defense down the stretch to gain the upper hand in the first...

News

BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — After six-straight painful losses, the already-ran PLDT finally scored its breakthrough win in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference after...

Basketball

Much has been said about Troy Rosario being the next Ranidel De Ocampo ever since he came on board TNT some six years ago....

News

BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — Jonah Sabete is finally back to her old, lethal form for Sta. Lucia after struggling in the initial part of...

Basketball

PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — Fourth seed Petra Cement-Roxas drew first blood after outlasting third seed home team Pagadian, 78-67, in the 2021 Chooks-to-Go...

Advertisement