IBRAHIM Ouattara vowed to play his best for University of the Philippines following what he described as a stressful past few days when eligibility issues were raised before Season 80 of the UAAP.
The UAAP eligibility committee had ruled Outtara could not play, needing another one year of residency at UP. The UAAP board, however, reversed the decision following an appeal by the school.
The player from Mali was thankful for the reversal, saying he nearly lost hope of being able to play.
"It was really, really, really stressful," said Ouattara, when asked how was the past few days for him. "Seriously, I almost lost hope because it was like something you worked for the whole year, and at the end, you won't be able to be part of it."
For the support of UP officials and the entire community, Ouattara felt he needed to play at an even higher level.
"I thank the UP community who really did a very, very good job for me to be able to play. I feel that I owe the school something. That's the feeling I have right now," said Ouattara.
"I feel thankful because I was able to play in the league. In the Philippines, it's a dream of every player to play in the collegiate league," Ouattara said.
In his first UAAP game, Ouattara finished with four points, eight rebounds, and two blocks in a tight victory over University of Sto. Tomas.
Ouattara believes UP will do better in the next games.
"For the first game, we got the win but personally, I felt that I need to do better than that. Good thing, my teammates picked it up. Not our best game, everybody knows that. But at least, we got the win. We have to learn from this and correct our mistakes and do better the next game," Ouattara said.