MANILA, Philippines – For the third time in UAAP Season 82, newly minted MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo crossed paths with his predecessor Bright Akhuetie, and again, the matchup did not disappoint.
As UST’s Beninese forward posted a 17-point, 15-rebound double-double with 4 steals and 2 assists, UP’s Nigerian bruiser answered in kind with 19 markers and 18 boards.
Although the Growling Tigers demolished the Fighting Maroons, 89-69, to force a semifinals do-or-die, Chabi Yo still gave credit where credit is due.
“It was a tough matchup. I just tried to play my best and follow the system of coach,” he said in the post-game presser. “I tried not to force any shot because in the last game I was leading in scoring so the defense will be focused on me.”
“I tried to use all the plays and finish strong.”
Indeed, the 6-foot-4 athletic freak played in full control and finished with a 7-of-9 clip with no turnovers. Akhuetie, on the other hand, registered a staggering 8 giveaways despite being efficient on 6-of-10 shooting.
Chabi Yo also heaped praises on his teammates and coaches as UST’s teamwork significantly lightened his load on both ends.
“It was a tough and good game,” he continued. “We just tried to go back to the basics – play good defense, follow the instructions of the coach, follow the system, and then make sure we are connected, all the players and the coaches.”
Thanks to Chabi Yo’s dominance in the paint combined with a ton of perimeter shooting from the rest of the squad, UST is now up 3-0 in its head-to-head series against UP with an average winning margin of 14 points.
The Tigers now look to finish the playoff first round sweep on Wednesday, November 13, while Akhuetie and the Maroons aim to clinch another finals series with two-time champions Ateneo Blue Eagles. – Rappler.com