UAAP Basketball

Kouame uncertain for World University but ready by UAAP opening  

Naveen Ganglani
Kouame uncertain for World University but ready by UAAP opening  

GETTING BETTER. Angelo Kouame says he also feels mentally stronger.


The Ateneo Blue Eagles look to showcase their winning form at the World University Basketball Series in Tokyo, with or without reigning MVP Angelo Kouame

MANILA, Philippines – Reigning UAAP men’s basketball MVP Angelo Kouame remains uncertain if he can play for the Ateneo Blue Eagles at the World University Basketball Series in Tokyo from August 9 to 11, but expects to be back in time for the opening of UAAP Season 85 in October.

Kouame, a naturalized Filipino, was diagnosed with a meniscal sprain and partially torn ACL in June which has kept him sidelined from national team duty. 

“The strength between the left and right is not the same, there’s a huge gap,” he told Rappler on Thursday, August 4, following the send-off press conference for the Blue Eagles as they leave for Japan on Sunday.

“When I jump and I land, it’s not sustainable. I just keep falling if I try to land on the left one, which is really bad. It’s not supposed to be the way.”

The Ivorian, however, thinks he’ll be fine “two or three weeks from now” and sees “the difference between when I started compared to now.”

“There’s progress,” he said.

When asked if he’ll be ready for the UAAP opening, he said: “Yeah, for sure.”

Kouame only started shooting on Wednesday by attempting 10 shots each from five different spots on the floor. He admits he was “kind of sore” afterwards because of being away from the game for so long.

Kouame’s recovery has included lower body strengthening, some upper body weightlifting, stretching, massages, and movement. He only recently began to sprint, jump, and hop.

“I can jump high, but it’s the landing part,” he said of the hurdle he still has to overcome. 

He’s also had to be strict with his diet by lessening his intake of carbohydrates (he stopped eating four cups of rice per meal), eating healthy dishes, and fasting to stay in good shape.

Kouame also feels mentally stronger after going through the recovery process, sharing that it was difficult to watch his teammates play in international competitions while he had to stay behind.

“It sucks to go through [the injury and recovery process]. The first month, I wasn’t myself,” he admitted. “I wasn’t even ready to go to practice, especially with Ateneo.”

For now, he says he’s “kind of okay” as he gets closer to the finish line.

Dave Ildefonso, meanwhile, said he’s good to go after the Ateneo stalwart also got sidelined from national team duty due to a knee injury.

If Kouame gets to play in Japan, he and his Blue Eagles will face Tokai University, National Chengchi University, and Universitas Pelita Harapan.

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