MANILA. Philippines — Ange Kouame prepares to compete for the Strong Group Realty Philippines team in the 32nd Dubai International Basketball Championship from January 27 to February 5.
After bringing glory to Ateneo with a Finals MVP performance at the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament, the naturalized center back will play for the team owned by Blue Eagle teammate Jacob Lao.
Kouame led the Blue Eagles to complete a series comeback with the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons team to win the championship. UAAP career with championship.
Lao, the owner of the youth team, thanked Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas for allowing the 6-foot-11 centre-back to play for them as they hope to win another title together at the Dubai tournament.
“We are very grateful to Gilas and SBP for allowing us to borrow Ange for this tournament,” said Lao. “He is my teammate and we just won at Ateneo. Hopefully we can win another title together.”
Strong Group coach Charles Tiu has announced that former NBA player Renaldo Balkman and Filipino-American defender Sedrick Barefield will also play for the Philippines team, led by Nick Young.
Tiu looks to win another title with the Puerto Rican, whom he coached as they won two titles together for Mighty Sports.
“I’ve won two championships with Balk and I want to try to keep rolling,” said the Strong Group coach. “He said he is very healthy and very eager to return to the Philippines to fulfill his legacy here.”
Tiu also rarely coaches Barefield, who last played for Tainan TSG GhostHawks in Taiwan.
“I’ve actually tried to get Barefield on my team in the past and it didn’t work out due to timing among others but I’m really happy to have him now. Our Filipino fans will see how good this guy is,” he said.
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