There is no question that the towering and imposing presence of Gilas Pilipinas big man Angelo Kouame is hard to overlook. It should come as no surprise that a team from the National Basketball Association (NBA) has developed interest in acquiring his services.
According to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) program director Tab Baldwin, the Milwaukee Bucks have been keeping a close eye on the 6-foot-10 stalwart, who has recently made a name for himself as one of the most promising players in the local hoop scene.
"While we know that Ange is not at that level now, we also know that the Milwaukee Bucks have scouts watching him," bared Baldwin, who has mentored Kouame over the years as the head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
"We know the potential is there but potential takes time to evolve and be realized with a lot of hard work and Ange has never been afraid of putting in that hard work."
True enough, the 23-year-old has always been hard at work when it comes to the game of basketball. A look at his development over the years as part of the Blue Eagles in the collegiate scene would reveal how dedicated he is at honing his craft through sheer effort.
When Kouame suited up as a rookie in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), he made an immediate impact for Ateneo, showing flashes of brilliance as a two-way player. He then further developed his game in the succeeding seasons, evolving into a reliable big man who can score in a plethora of ways and spell the difference on the defensive end.
Aside from the Bucks, it has been reported that the naturalized Filipino center has also received offers from several teams in Asia, Europe, and the G League.
As bright as his future may seem, Kouame will have to postpone any decisions on his future and instead focus on the task at hand, which is to represent flag and country in the international stage. After all, he and Gilas Pilipinas will compete in the third and final window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and the Belgrade Olympic Qualifying Tournament this June.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.
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