TOKYO—Ange Kouame has left terribly big shoes to fill.
And Joseph Obasa will have the task of doing that when the 86th season of the UAAP comes along next month.
So far, coach Tab Baldwin likes what he is seeing from the 6-foot-10 center. Although, some polishing still needs to be done.
“Like most rookies, he’s still inconsistent,” Baldwin answered, when asked about the progress of his new force in the middle as the Blue Eagles made their way here for the World University Basketball Series.
“But he’s been showing signs of good play lately,” he went on. “He’s learning, and the best thing about him is that he is a great teammate.”
Kouame, who graduated a few weeks back after leading the Eagles to the crown last season and being naturalized along the way, will go down in league history as one of the finest, most successful foreign student-athletes ever.
Obasa, who is taking up a master’s course in order to play his one-and-done season with the Eagles, will be under the microscope the entire season as Ateneo tries to win its sixth title in the last seven years under Baldwin.
“We’re here to keep learning, to keep preparing for the UAAP,” Baldwin said. “All of these players will be learning a thing or two playing against the competition here.
“And we want to get the toughest competition as much as we can.”
Ateneo opens up against University of Sydney on Thursday at 7 p.m. (6 p.m. Manila time) and will face the winner of the Hakuoh University of Japan and Perbanas Institute of Indonesia match in the round-of-8.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.