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Kouame to go under knife

Ange Kouame is set to undergo a knee operation after leading Ateneo de Manila University to its fourth men’s basketball title in five years in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.

Kouame, the country’s naturalized player, said he will have a brief vacation in his hometown in Ivory Coast for the holidays before returning to the country in February to repair his injured knee.

He added that aside from the surgery, he has nothing in the pipeline, knowing that his future plans all depend on the success of his operation and rehabilitation.

“I’m probably going into rehab for six months after surgery,” said Kouame, who bagged the Most Valuable Player plum of the finals of Season 85.

“There’s no news yet on where I might end up.”

Despite tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, Kouame still came up with a dominant performance, posting 17.7 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks for the Blue Eagles in their best-of-three finals series against University of the Philippines.

His offensive load was lighter with the emergence of BJ Andrade, Forthsky Padrigao, Chris Koon and Dave Ildefonso.

Although Kouame already exhausted his playing years, he will not be jobless for long.

In fact, Ateneo team manager Epok Quimpo revealed to Daily Tribune that there are a number of local and international teams expressing interest in acquiring the services of the 6-foot-10 slotman.

Everything, however, depends on the outcome of his surgery and rehabilitation and if the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will give him the green light to join other teams.

“You have to realize that Ange is part of the national pool and can be called anytime to serve. We are focused on his knee surgery, rehab and workouts,” Quimpo said.

“There were scouts who were already watching Ange practice. They know Ange is studying in Ateneo and they respect that but now that he is almost finished with Ateneo, I’m sure those offers will be put on the table.”

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