Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao is obviously tickled pink by the presence of Ange Kouame on the team’s lineup for the 2023 Jones Cup in Taiwan.
Kouame will serve as the Elasto Painters’ import next month for the annual cagefest and his decision to reinforce them has brought a wide grin on Guiao’s face.
“We’ve suddenly become a bigger team with Kouame because he’s close to seven feet,” Guiao told Daily Tribune in a telephone conversation.
Guiao said Kouame, who had been sidelined due to injuries for about a year, will be given ample playing time.
“For about a year, he’s been battling injuries and I think this will be the first time that he’ll be utilized more since coming back from his injuries,” he said.
Because of Kouame’s condition, his mother team Ateneo and even Gilas Pilipinas hardly utilized the 6-foot-ten Ivorian-Filipino, who was loaned to the PBA team in its effort to bulk up for the tough tournament.
Guiao is thrilled to have Kouame on board.
“He’s been the kind of player the team has been missing the past few years and his presence up front will definitely shore up the squad when they compete against crack teams from Asia, including national teams from the region.”
According to Guiao, Kouame’s high basketball IQ has allowed him to adjust quickly to the team’s system.
“He’s an intelligent player,” said Guiao.
Kouame has been giving Guiao all the reason to stay upbeat.
“That’s why he won’t have much difficulty adjusting to the system. For a big guy, he runs quick to the basket. He’s quicker for his size. I think his presence alone will allow us to fill in that huge donut hole in the middle that we’ve been missing for so long.”
The team leaves for Taipei on 11 August.