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MANILA, Philippines – Once UAAP MVP Malick Diouf exhausts his playing years with the University of the Philippines, the school is looking for its more-than-formidable frontcourt to pick up the mantle.
The Fighting Maroons scooped up former UE Red Warrior Gani Stevens on Tuesday, June 6, adding another big in a team that is leaning towards size down low.
“We already love what we have right now with Francis [Lopez], Seven [Gagate], and Luis [Pablo],” head coach Goldwin Monteverde said on his team’s new offseason recruits.
“Adding another young, hardworking center in Gani will certainly give us more versatility in our frontcourt as we continue to build our program in the seasons to come,” he continued.
Presently, Diouf is backstopped by a handful of players 6-foot-4 and above in a bid to reclaim a UAAP men’s basketball championship that was only defended for several months.
Among the forward-centers UP will parade down the road include 6-foot-5 Lopez, 6-foot-8 Gagate, 6-foot-7 Pablo, 6-foot-5 LA Andres, 6-foot-9 Sean Alter, as well as 6-foot-4 Aldous Torculas and 6-foot-5 Mark Belmonte.
During his lone season with the Red Warriors, Stevens averaged 9.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.0 assist in a starting capacity.
Stevens will be redshirted for the upcoming UAAP Season 86 and will have three more eligible playing years.
UP basketball program director Bo Perasol said the move is part of committing itself to maintain an elevated level of talent despite an early exit.
“The five-year player is becoming rarer, so we want to be prepared whenever one of our players plays well then gets offers overseas or professionally here,” explained Perasol. – Rappler.com