MANILA, Philippines — Reigning MVP Ange Kouame continues to ship for Ateneo regardless of having but to completely recuperate from his knee damage.
The naturalized Gilas Pilipinas middle posted 17 factors, 12 rebounds, three assists, and three blocks as Ateneo earned its second straight win within the UAAP Season 85 males’s basketball match after beating National University, 77-60, on Wednesday at Philsports Enviornment.
Though he has but to regain his high kind after a partial ACL tear he suffered final June, Kouame is just not letting it have an effect on his eagerness to assist the Blue Eagles.
“I don’t give it some thought. I simply go to the sport, play the sport the best way I all the time play. If it hurts, it hurts, If it doesn’t, I can go,” he mentioned.
“It feels good, I’m actually completely satisfied how the staff can work collectively. However (there may be) nonetheless lots to (enhance for me), the wins and particularly protection, too. I feel we’re gonna return tomorrow on what we ought to be doing for the subsequent sport.”
The 24-year-old large man, who’s taking part in his remaining UAAP season, has been instrumental in Ateneo’s first two wins, averaging 14.5 factors, 13.0 boards, 3.0 blocks, and a pair of.5 assists.
The Blue Eagles coach Tab Baldwin stays affected person on the progress of his 6-foot-10 middle, lauding Kouame for doing greater than anticipated regardless of the damage.
“The knee’s simply not a wholesome knee. That’s a reality of life. There’s no person that may exploit it, as a result of he solely has one gear. It’s all out. I feel he nonetheless is in need of his rhythm, his coordination,” Baldwin mentioned. “You are taking a 7-foot, 23-, 24-year previous participant who’s been within the sport for 4, 5 years, and also you sit him out for 2 months? Man, that’s robust on him. He’s doing greater than I count on at this level.”
Baldwin hopes Kouame continues to recuperate because the lengthy season goes on.
“He makes errors, and a few of these errors in all probability wouldn’t have been there if he had been absolutely lively for the final 4 months. However he wasn’t, in order that’s what we stay with, and I like our staff. I like him anchoring the center. I simply hope the knee holds up,” the Kiwi-American coach mentioned.
Ateneo, which seeks to reclaim the title this season, eyes its third straight win towards fierce rival, La Salle on Sunday at Sensible Araneta Coliseum.