His defensive versatility and rebounding prowess should come in handy.
The groupings for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (OQT) next year were drawn on Tuesday.
One thing’s for sure, Gilas Pilipinas will face an acid test in trying to get out of the group phase after being bracketed with two European powerhouses.
World number 38 Philippines is in Group A, along with Latvia and Georgia who are ranked 5th and 17th, respectively. To make it harder for Gilas Pilipinas, the games will take place in Rigo, Latvia, where the home crowd is expected to play the role of sixth man.
It will be a reversal of sorts for the Filipino cagers, who had the homecourt advantage in this year's FIBA World Cup.
A familiar face in the national team agreed that Gilas Pilipinas is indeed facing a tall task in the FIBA OQT on July. On Tuesday, Ange Kouame gave his honest take on the Philippines' opponents in Group A. He only needed one word.
“Damn,” he posted on his Instagram Story.
Kouame’s profound statement probably encapsulated how most Gilas Pilipinas fans reacted when the results of the FIBA OQT draw were announced.
The goal is to make it to the 2024 Paris Olympics, but with teams like Latvia and Georgia in the way, the road just got narrower and steeper for the national squad.
Led by fabulous point guard Artur Zagars, Latvia finished fifth overall in the FIBA World Cup. Georgia, meanwhile, has outstanding talents as well in Orlando Magic center Goga Bitadze and San Antonio Spurs big man Alexander Mamukelashvili. Georgia finished 16th in the FIBA World Cup.
Kouame will be aching to help Gilas Pilipinas, knowing that top-level competition is on the horizon. At the moment, the naturalized Filipino is playing for C’ Chartres Basket in France’s third-tier league Nationale Masculine 1, where he’s averaging 8.2 points and 6.1 rebounds through nine games.