By JONAS TERRADO
Ange Kouame is making sure that he’ll be ready to face South Korea’s Ricardo Ratliffe and Indonesia’s Lester Prosper in the event he makes his debut for Gilas Pilipinas as a naturalized player in next month’s FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Pampanga.
Kouame, who only needs a signature of President Duterte in order to become a naturalized Filipino, said he’s been studying how to deal with matching up against the two former PBA imports ahead of the third and final window of the continental qualifiers set June 16 to 20.
“I already played against Ratliffe in the Jones Cup, but I’m not really sure what type of player Prosper is,” said Kouame, who was interviewed by One Sports’ The Game during Gilas’ ongoing training bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
Gilas will take on South Korea twice and Indonesia once, needing just a win to formally secure its place in the Asia Cup slated mid-August in Jakarta.
The Ivorian-born center played against Ratliffe in the 2018 when Ateneo represented the Philippines in the William Jones Cup in Taiwan.
Kouame has yet to face Prosper, but has been keenly observing how the southpaw big plays based on his stint with Columbian (now-Terrafirma) in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup and San Miguel Beer in the East Asia Super League.
“I’ve seen a couple of his games in the PBA, so I’m scouting them to see what their weaknesses and strengths are. And it gets me really excited to possibly face them,” said Kouame.
The 6-foot-10 Kouame could either wait for the Chief Executive’s signature or for the bill to lapse until 30 days in order to become a law.
The bill was transmitted to Malacanang last April 23, according to the House of Representatives website, after the versions of both the lower chamber and the Senate were approved on the third and final reading.