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MANILA, Philippines – Looking back at his collegiate career, former UP Fighting Maroons star center Malick Diouf said he tried to serve as an inspiration for the next generation of Filipino hoopers.
“For me, the legacy is just like giving my best the whole time I was playing in this country,” the Senegalese told Rappler during a media event organized by global sports brand Puma, which introduced him as one of its brand ambassadors.
“I gave my teams love, because a lot of kids are watching us. So that’s being a good inspiration, [also] giving respect to the other players and coaches, the fans who are watching the games,” he added.
Although hampered by a hairline fracture in his right wrist, an injury he shared publicly only during the interview, Diouf delivered for the Maroons to the tune of 12.1 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in the UAAP Season 86 finals, where they lost in three games to La Salle.
Diouf, the UAAP Season 85 Most Valuable Player, played three seasons for UP and helped the school net its first men’s basketball title since 1986 at the expense of the dynastic Ateneo Blue Eagles in Season 84.
UP reached the finals in all of Diouf’s three seasons there, falling short twice – first to Ateneo in Season 85 then to La Salle in Season 86.
Diouf also bared that he has pending offers to play basketball elsewhere, but has not made any decision as he continues to recover from a surgery he underwent in late December.
Although Diouf and team captain CJ Cansino are leaving, the Maroons remain one of the better teams for the next season.
Diouf sees JD Cagulangan and Harold Alarcon stepping up as the team’s new leaders in a season that promises to be competitive.
“All the teams are preparing well. They have a long preparation time also,” said Diouf.
“Players are coming in. Hopefully, there will be no injuries like this season. I think it will be an exciting season.” – Rappler.com