Kouame loyalty remains solid

Ange Kouame is not turning away from Gilas Pilipinas duty.

The 6-foot-10 Kouame assured his commitment to the national program as he nears recovery from the meniscal sprain and partial anterior cruciate ligament tear he sustained a few months ago.

Kouame’s loyalty is definitely rock-solid, even amid the possibility of Jordan Clarkson being a prime candidate for naturalization as part of Gilas’ preparation in the FIBA World Cup next year.

“If the national team calls me, for sure I will represent. I will still be there no matter what’s going on,” Kouame said.

“At the end of the day, it’s something that I chose, and I love my job, too.”

The Ivorian-born center was granted Filipino citizenship last year and was part of former Gilas coach Tab Baldwin youth-laden squad that competed in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers and FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament.

After Baldwin stepped down from his national team role, the Ateneo de Manila University big man remained a part of current Gilas tactician Chot Reyes’ lineup in the first window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

Injuries prevented him from seeing action and left a gaping hole on Gilas frontcourt that resulted to crushing defeats in the succeeding windows and the FIBA Asia Cup last month.

While he might not be available for the upcoming August window, Kouame is confident that he can rejoin the team in its next matches in November and February.

He, however, mentioned the possibility of him playing overseas once he finishes his final season with the Blue Eagles in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines in October.

“After the season, I have other plans to play overseas, so we never know how things can go. It depends on how things go,” Kouame said.

“No matter what’s gonna happen, I’m still gonna represent, I’m still gonna be present for the national team.”

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