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Ange Kouame to undergo surgery for partial ACL tear

December 22 ------ ATENEO center Ange Kouame is set to undergo surgery for a partial ACL tear and meniscal sprain in his knee after leading to the Blue Eagles to a UAAP title. "I'm getting surgery, the rest, I'll leave it to God because only God has answers," said Kouame after Ateneo's 75-68 championship-clinching win against UP in Game Three at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The 25-year-old naturalized player has dealt with the injury since June and was unable to suit up for Gilas Pilipinas during the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifying windows in July and August and the 2022 FIBA Asian Cup. He was also unable to practice for the Blue Eagles numerous times during the season due to the nagging injury.

The Gilas mainstay put a fitting end to his college career by leading Ateneo to its 12th UAAP title. He was named Finals MVP after averaging 17.7 points on 50 percent shooting, 11.0 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks during the three-game finals.

Kouame's longtime head coach Tab Baldwin praised the slotman for toughening it out, as his injury was exceedingly difficult to navigate through, according to injury specialists. "And the doctor said to me, he asked me a question, he said, 'cause he didn't know anything about it, he just saw the MRI. He says, 'Is this kid playing?' Exactly that. 'Is this kid playing?' And I kind of almost felt like it was an accusation," recalled Baldwin. "And, I said, sheepishly, 'Yeah, he's playing.' And there was a pause, and he said, 'That's one tough son of a bitch.' He said he will make a full recovery, but he's gonna need surgery as soon as he can get it," he continued.



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