MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas frontliners Angelo Kouame and Isaac Go expressed readiness to take on former PBA imports reinforcing South Korea and Indonesia in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers next week in Clark.
Debuting naturalized player Kouame and PBA draftee Go are up against Korea’s Ra Gun-a (formerly Ricardo Ratliffe) and Indonesia’s Lester Prosper in the final window of the qualifiers set June 16-20 at AUF Sports Arena.
“Every time you wear the Philippines’ jersey, no matter who you’re playing, it’s a big challenge,” Go said in The Game on One Sports.
Gilas faces off with former Star import Ra and the fancied Koreans in the first and last days of the bubble tourney. The Nationals duel with former Columbian Dyip import Prosper and the Indonesians on June 18.
Kouame and Go played against the Ra-bannered Koreans three years ago as part of the Ateneo team that placed fourth in the Jones Cup. The 6-foot-8 Ra punched in 15 points and seven rebounds as Korea beat the Blue Eagles, 90-73. Kouame accounted for 10 markers and six boards while Go scored five in that game.
“He beat us there so now it’s a challenge for us to see how much we’ve improved. We have a gauge already,” said the 6-foot-8 Go.
“For both of these guys (Ra and Prosper), if we know we can compete with them, it kind of set us okay. We understand where we were. Where we’re gonna go is still ways to go,” he added.
The 6-foot-10 Kouame, who recently gained Philippine citizenship, relishes the matchup with the quality bigs.
“I personally take this as a way for me to see where I’ve got to this year and where I can take it. So it’s a big thing for us,” he said.