MANILA - Dwight Ramos has yet to play a single game in the UAAP, but he is already turning heads with his performance for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers in Manama, Bahrain.
The incoming Ateneo forward had five points and five rebounds in just 16 minutes of playing time when the Philippines routed Indonesia, 100-70, in February. But on Friday against Thailand, Ramos displayed his full arsenal, going 7-of-7 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line to score a team-high 20 points.
It was a highly efficient outing for Ramos, who made both of his three-pointers and added seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals in just 20 minutes of action.
After the Philippines' 93-61 demolition of Thailand, Ramos said: "Ball just went in today, I guess. I feel good. My teammates passed me the ball, they got me in the right spots. We were just out there trying to have fun, trying to follow our game plan."
One person who was unsurprised to see Ramos' big-time performance is his future Ateneo teammate, Ange Kouame. The Ivorian center -- a candidate for naturalization for Gilas -- has seen what Ramos can do not just during the Blue Eagles' practices but also in the national team's brief training camp ahead of the qualifying window.
"I'm not surprised, because he used to practice with us even last year," said Kouame, who was one of the pillars of Ateneo's perfect campaign in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament.
"That's how he plays -- offensive rebounds, especially offensive rebounds. You can see it -- the pull-up, stepback, on three-points. He's complete as a player," Kouame said during the post-game show on "2OT." "(I have) big respect for him."
Scoring is clearly not a problem for Ramos, who showed on Friday night that he can create his own shot but also benefited from the playmaking of the Gilas guards. Kouame points out, however, that Ramos can also set up his teammates and is able to organize the Gilas offense when called upon.
"He can shift from the one to two to three," said Kouame. "He's a complete player."
Watching Ramos shine for the national team makes Kouame even more excited to team up with him in the future -- both with Gilas Pilipinas and with the Blue Eagles. Ramos is expected to be eligible for Ateneo by Season 83, after serving a one-year residency in 2019.
"You can actually see the way he impacts the game," said Kouame of Ramos. "He's a great leader, too."
"As a player, it's a great opportunity for me to play with somebody like him," he added.
Ramos will suit up again for Gilas Pilipinas on Monday night, when they play Thailand again in their second game of the qualifying window.
Kouame, meanwhile, is waiting for his chance to play for the Philippines as his naturalization papers are still being processed.