Kouame patok sa Gilas ‘Pinas
Isang pirma na lamang ang kailangan ni Angelo Kouame na magmumula sa pangulo ng bansa upang maging isang full-fledged na Filipino citizen.
Kaya naman ipinaliwanag ni Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin kung gaano kahalaga ang 6-foot-10 center sa magiging kinabukasan ng Gilas Pilipinas.
Sinabi ng Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) program director sa Radyo5 Power and Play ni Noli Eala kung gaano kahalaga si Kouame para sa national team para sa kanyang ikalawang bansa na makasulong.
“I want everyone to stop for a second and think rationally,’Who do most coaches when assembling their national team, who do they select?'” sabi nito.
“You can go to an All-Star team, get all the PBA players that we wanted, we take the Roger Pogoys, Paul Lees, CJ Perezes, June Mar Fajardos, all of them are very productive offensive players. There maybe good defensive players, but all of them are sort of the stars of the offensive game and they’re our best players,” palwianag pa nito.
“Why then, in selecting a naturalized player, would we bring in a naturalized player that needs to have the ball in his hands all the time?,” sabi pa nito.
“Why not bring a player who’s a great rebounder, a great rim protector, and a defensive stalwart to play behind these excellent offensive players who are anywhere from mediocre to good defensive players, and certainly has the potential to be very good defenders? Why would we bring in another guy who needs to dominate the basketball when you bring him in?”
Sinabi ni Baldwin ang argumento na tulad sa isang lokal sa offensive kung saan inaasahan mula sa mga naturalized player sa kanyang talento sa rebounding at defensive attributes.
Maliban kay Kouame, kabilang din sa kinunsidera ng SBP sa naturalization sina Ginebra’s resident import Justin Brownlee at dating San Miguel reinforcement Chris McCullough.
Ang 23-anyos na si Kouame, na isang sentro mula sa Ivory Coast at UAAP Season 81 Rookie of the Year, ay isa sa mga [listahan ni Baldwin. (Lito Oredo)