For the fourth straight year, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws and the Ateneo de Manila University will face off in the Final Four. And it will be the second time Olsen Racela meets the Blue Eagles in the post-season.
However, last season’s Ateneo team – which needed the heroics of Isaac Go to make it to the Finals – now have a huge addition. And that is none other than 6-foot-10 Ivorian student-athlete Angelo Kouame.
“Ateneo is a very tough team. I always bring back last year’s Final Four, pero last year wala si Kouame eh.
“Yun ang headache namin ngayon eh. But we’ll see what we can do. We will prepare hard for this game and prepare the boys hard, and we’ll see what happens,” said second-year Tamaraws head coach Olsen Racela.
Last October 20, Racela saw first-hand how good Kouame. Back then, the soon-to-be-named Rookie of the Year dropped 33 points and 27 rebounds to lead Ateneo to an 82-62 romp.
But Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin believes that his team is more than just Kouame and that anyone can erupt at any given moment.
“That’s his viewpoint. I’d like to think that we have a roster that could play good basketball when Ange isn’t there, like when we played La Salle,” shared the reigning Collegiate Press Corps Coach of the Year.
“All of my players are key players, in my opinion. He has his own opinions.
“We don’t try to feature Ange, we don’t try to hide anybody else. We expect everybody on our roster to step up and make the plays that they’re called upon to make, and do the job they’re called upon to do,” he added.
Still, Racela and his staff will do whatever they can to devise a plan to stop Kouame from repeating the feat.
“We’ll see what we can do.”