Ange Kouame has been the subject of a new debate between fans of Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines.
Two days since Game 1 of the UAAP 81 Finals, the Blue Eagles’ rookie reinforcement has still been the target of criticism in social media of Fighting Maroon fans who did not appreciate his supposed role in an incident with Bright Akhuetie.
In the third quarter of Game 1 last Saturday, Kouame and Akhuetie got into contact with one another and the latter fell to the floor, clutching his left knee.
Akhuetie had to be stretchered out of the court and into the locker room, but ultimately returned to the court.
Kouame, meanwhile, became the recipient of resounding boos from the maroon and white crowd for the remainder of the game.
Afterwards, Ateneo’s Ivorian tower only admitted that the boos got to him.
He also made it a point to clear, however, that what happened was an unfortunate incident and was, by no means, intentional on his part.
Thirdy Ravena shared the same sentiment while also vouching for his 6-foot-10 teammate. As he put it, “It was an accident. Knowing Ange, he’s probably the most gentle (foreign student-athlete). ‘Di naman siya pupunta sa game na mananakit.”
He then continued, “It happens in basketball, may nasasaktan, may nahuhulog, but yung kay Ange, hindi naman niya sinasadya. It was just part of the game.”
For his part, Blue Eagles mentor Tab Baldwin said he wasn’t worrying about what happened between Kouame and Akhuetie. Asked about it, specifically what the replay reviews showed, he answered, dry as always, “I didn’t even look at it. It didn’t matter to me. I don’t live in video replays. What matters to me is what the referees call.”
He then continued, “If I see it, I’ll comment to the referees. If I don’t see it, I’m not gonna comment.”
According to Coach Tab, what matters most is that Akhuetie’s injury is not as bad as it seemed to be. “I felt bad for Bright. It looked like a serious injury so I’m happy it wasn’t,” he said.
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