MANILA, Philippines – Ange Kouame deflected credit to his teammates as Ateneo lived an extra day with a 65-55 victory to prevent the University of the Philippines from completing the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Basketball Final in Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Naturalized centre-back Gilas Pilipinas solved his own problem as he led the Blue Eagles with 19 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 saves and 2 assists in front of 20,616 fans at the Big Dome to force a win-lose in Game 3 on Monday.
But Kouame insists that it was a team effort that helped Ateneo recover from the defeat. Hard loss 1 last Sunday.
“I think it was a team effort. It’s not just about me getting a brace,” he said in his post-match press conference.
The 6-foot-10 center-back praises Kai Ballungay, who recovering from a Game 1 performance without a goal with 15 points and 5 rebounds, as well as substitutes Geo Chiu and Sean Fewvis.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the team. What I really want to talk about is the performance of the whole team. Bench, Geo strengthen, Kai Ballungay strengthen, even Sean Quivis,” Kouame said.
Chiu brought quality spare minutes to Kouame, scoring six points, four rebounds, one save and one assist, while Quitvis brought in the invisibles and defensive effort. great, with BJ Andrade in trouble with four individual fouls that kept him out for only 10 minutes of time.
“BJ Andrade is in trouble. I just wanted to assure him that we had his back. Because I feel like our team is built on brotherhood,” said Quevis.
Kouame, Season 84’s MVP, also noted the previous Blue Eagle gesture, who visited and talked for a long time during their Monday practice session.
He is grateful to have the same determination as his teammates as they sought to redeem themselves after losing to UP in Game 3 of the Finals last May.
“It really made me feel in the right position to be able to be with them and see that they really wanted it as much as I wanted to,” he said.
Kouame has a chance to end his college career and 2022 by reclaiming Ateneo’s lost glory in another epic tie-in next week.
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