Ange Kouame has missed the Gilas Men’s campaigns in Korea, the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers’ third window, and the Asia Cup in Jakarta due to a partial tear in his partial anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear.
And the Ateneo senior might miss the Blue Eagles’ campaign in the World University Basketball Series in Tokyo, Japan next week.
“It’s still a question mark because my leg doesn’t respond the way I want it to,” Kouame shared during the team’s sendoff held at Dragon’s Nest in Quezon City.
“I think I might be or I might not be. It depends on how it will respond this coming week. We’ll figure it out. It’s not yet sure but I might be.”
But a lot has changed as well since his last Gilas appearance.
Yes, Kouame was not even asked to be part of the pool despite it being held weeks after he will be cleared for a return.
Moreover, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is also looking for more Americans to naturalize, including Noah Vonleh.
And even the 6-foot-11 big man does not know where he stands with the national team program.
“I don’t know what is happening,” he wondered.
“No matter what is going to happen, I’m still going to represent. I’m still going to be present for the national team.”
In Tab Baldwin’s Gilas, Kouame averaged 10.0 points and 6.3 rebounds in three games played in the Asia Cup Qualifiers and 13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament-Belgrade.
Under Chot Reyes however, Kouame numbers dipped to 5.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks during the third window.
Kouame went on to dominate in the UAAP, winning MVP via a wide margin.
Whatever the SBP’s plan is for him, Kouame is already plotting his plan B.
After all, he can’t just wait and wait as he also has to earn for himself after his collegiate days are over.
“After this season, I have plans to be overseas. We’ll never know how things will go. It depends on how things go.”