Angelo Kouame dazzles in his first Ateneo-La Salle UAAP match
Danine Cruz on Oct 06, 2018 08:02 PM
"I feel like the same just like the other games, every game is just as tough, so that's it." -- Angelo Kouame on his first Ateneo versus La Salle game
Fantastic is an understatement to describe Angelo Kouame's performance in his first Ateneo de Manila University versus De La Salle University game in the UAAP Season 81 men's basketball tournament.
Sizzling with a double-double performance of 20 points and 13 rebounds, plus three steals and five blocks, the Ateneo crowd present in the Mall of Asia Arena broke into "MVP! MVP!" chants for the rookie big man during the fourth quarter.
The ever humble Kouame, despite being aware of the gravity of earning a major nod of approval from a tough crowd to please, still brushed off the validation.
"The main point is not to be MVP, but to be champion, so our focus is on that: to be champion, not MVP trophy. I say thank you to the Ateneo community for all of those things they do for me," said the foreign student-athlete from Cote d’ Ivoire.
The faithful in Katipunan has plenty of reasons to be happy with their Kouame.
The 6-foot-10 athlete showed that he has solid handles for a big man in the second half after he carried the ball from coast to coast and finished it off with a basket. Few moments later, he put the cherry on top of his solid performance with a highlight dunk.
"I don’t know. I just felt the ball," he said in between laughs.
Going into his first rivalry match, Kouame shared that he was oriented by his teammates about the pride and history behind the matchup.
"I think everyone keeps talking about that. I feel like the experience during Filoil, we all know that it was a tough game especially against La Salle. Coach, George (Go), and all of those players Raffy (Verano) and all the kuyas, Anton (Asistio), Matt (Nieto), Mike (Nieto), they all talked to me about it and we really bring that as a team," he shared.
But behind the hype and glitz of the rivalry that is Ateneo versus La Salle, Kouame felt like it was just like any other match.
"I feel like the same just like the other games. Every game is just as tough, so that's it," he said.
Regardless of what match-up it is, the 19-year-old player expressed that he will always be here as a student of the game.
"You know we keep learning. I keep learning. That’s something. And Coach Tab told me: just read the game. If you read the game, you have the key of the game," he said.