Angelo Kouame downplays career game for Ateneo

MANILA, Philippines – As if the Ateneo Blue Eagles couldn't get any better, their Ivorian tower Angelo Kouame has shown that he doesn't need a lot of time to be the anchor that the defending champs need him to be.

In just his fifth game in the collegiate ranks against the UST Growling Tigers, the 6-foot-11 big man posted career-highs of 20 points and 15 rebounds with 4 blocks on a near-perfect 8-of-9 clip (86%) in just 19 minutes of action. 

He roundly outplayed his more-seasoned matchup Steve Akomo in the 85-53 rout on Sunday, September 30. 

Despite the career night that got him a standing ovation from the packed Ateneo crowd, the soft-spoken Kouame only deflected all praises to his teammates who set him up.

"My teammates are the best," he said in the post-game presser. "I really like my teammates – the way we move in the court, the way we share the ball – it makes me open so I say thank you to them."

With the win, Kouame upped his averages to 9.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and a league-high 3.6 blocks.

Likewise, assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga said that it was a team effort that helped them destroy UST.

"I wish we could tell you that we had a game plan wherein he's gonna score 20 points, but that's not how we play," he said. "We played based on the system. It can be Raffy Verano, he had a lot of points last game. It's Angelo today. I don't know next game who it will be. It's just the way we play."

"It was a very good team effort on our part because if you noticed, because it's not one-on-one moves with Angelo," he continued. "Of course, he had a couple of good moves and we're happy that he's improving, but it's the passes from guards, from Thirdy and from four men that were important for us in getting the scoring opportunities."

Indeed, in coach Tab Baldwin's perfected team-based system, any one player can have a career night. It's that dangerous and potent.

But even for just one night, Kouame can claim it as his. Certainly, more are on the way. It's only a matter of time. –