Kouame excited to suit up as naturalized player for Gilas

Gilas Pilipinas Men continues to train in Laguna for upcoming international competitions.

The national team is set to play South Korea on June 16 and 20, and Indonesia on June 19 in Clark for the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

“We’re doing very well in terms of progress and process, we still have a lot of time,” Gilas coach Jong Uichico said on One Sports’ The Game on Tuesday.

Then in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which will take place from June 29 to July 4, Gilas will face host Serbia and Dominican Republic.

“We’re also preparing for them. Malakas talaga sila but that doesn’t mean na hindi tayo pwede mag-compete,” added Uichico.

Kouame excited for role as naturalized player

Meanwhile, there is a lot of pressure for Angelo Kouame now that he is one step away from being a naturalized Filipino, but he is looking forward to the challenge.

“I’m anxious and excited at the same time, but mostly excited. It’s been a year now since we started the process. I’ve prepared myself for it, emotionally and mentally,” said Kouame, who has been training with the Gilas pool while waiting for his naturalization to become official.

If he gets to play in the Asia Cup Qualifiers, he will face tough opponents in Lester Prosper (Indonesia) and Ricardo Ratliffe (South Korea).

“I’ll scout them to see their weakness and strengths, but I’m really excited to go up against these guys.”

In the meantime, he is focused on getting better, with the help of Gilas assistant coach Alton Lister.

“It’s big for me because he’s the kind of coach who’ll always push me to keep working out. Having him around, I’m trying to learn as much as I can from him,” explained Kouame. “He has taught me a lot like how to move and how to play inside the paint. It’s really helpful. I keep learning from him every single day.”