Angelo Kouame cherished his matchup against NBA big man Boban Marjanovic, noting it’s a “learning experience” as Gilas Pilipinas nearly pulled off an upset over host Serbia in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The 6-foot-10 Kouame gave up several inches to the 7-foot-3 Marjanovic but managed to hold his own against the Dallas Mavericks stalwart in the Philippines’ 76-83 loss.
While Marjanovic finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds, Kouame also delivered for his side with 17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 assists.
“It was super tough. That was a battle for me, especially for the other guys. They really helped me a lot, especially to keep [him] off the boards,” said the 23-year-old naturalized player.
“He is tall, he is long, he has a huge wingspan. Getting defensive rebounds and being able to keep him out of the paint were the biggest problems for me,” Kouame added.
Kouame had several shining moments against the towering Serbian frontline that also features 6-foot-11 NBA prospect Filip Petrusev.
The Ateneo slotman scored 6 straight points in the third quarter as he played a key role in the Filipinos’ comeback from a 16-point hole.
But Marjanovic got the last laugh in their individual duel after scoring 8 points in the Serbians’ win-clinching 10-2 run, including a hook shot over Kouame that eventually secured the win for the home team.
“I think the outcome, it is what it is, but I mean, this is a great learning experience and I will learn from it,” Kouame said.
“I try to picture it and get better for the next couple of players like him that I’m going to be against. So it is a great experience.”
After gauging himself against an NBA veteran, Kouame has huge expectations for himself for the years to come.
“We keep learning. It is a learning process. I enjoy it. I think two years from now, I will be on top,” Kouame said. – Rappler.com