MANILA, Philippines – It was just a result of a long layoff.
Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes allayed fears of an injury to Angelo Kouame after the naturalized big man appeared to hobble in their 88-64 win over India in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Friday, February 25.
“For Ange, I think it was just a case of cramps. You have to understand, he hasn’t played a competitive game since August last year,” Reyes said.
Prior to the Asian Qualifiers, Kouame last suited up for Gilas in the King Abdullah Cup in Jordan in August last year before the team got broken up due to lack of tournaments and players pursuing overseas careers.
Kouame still managed to finish the game against India, subbing out with less than five minutes left with the Philippines enjoying a 77-54 advantage.
Pitted against a towering Indian frontline, the Ateneo big man more than held his own as he put up 6 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals in 25 minutes of action.
It was not the same case, though, with Gilas forward Troy Rosario, who aggravated the finger injury he has been enduring for months now.
Rosario dislocated his left pinky finger in October last year during the PBA Philippine Cup finals, which he and TNT ruled in five games over Magnolia.
“[H]e never had that surgically repaired, he was waiting till after the season to get it surgically repaired so that just got aggravated,” Reyes said.
Kouame is expected to once again crack the lineup, while Rosario is in danger of getting sidelined as the Philippines takes on New Zealand on Sunday, February 27. – Rappler.com