MANILA, Philippines – After 4 games in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament, it's clear that the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers' recruitment of Soulemane Chabi Yo has paid big dividends.
Aside from sinking the tying shot that sent the game into overtime against the win-hungry National University (NU) Bulldogs, the Beninese big man churned out a massive 23-point, 20-rebound double-double in the 87-74 humiliation.
Chabi Yo is just thankful for the trust head coach Aldin Ayo is giving him amid UST's 3-1 start.
"I'm very happy because coach gave me the trust. Not only me, but all my teammates because we are a team and we play as a team," he said after playing 39 minutes in the win.
"We always try to do our best to win because we're undersized, so we have to give it all."
However, the 6-foot-6 athletic freak noted that they played with too much eagerness to bounce back from their 70-71 loss to two-time defending champion Ateneo.
"We have to play with the system because sometimes we go away from the system," he said. "Everybody wants to score, everybody wants to show what he can do. That's the problem. First 3 quarters, everybody wanted to shoot, everybody wanted to attack. We diverted from the system."
Indeed, UST was on the verge of becoming NU's first victim of the season as they were down 5, 63-68, in the final 42 seconds of regulation.
However, the Bulldogs choked and incurred a 5-second inbound violation and an 8-second backcourt violation in consecutive possessions to revive the Tigers' hopes.
"But in the end, especially in the overtime, we came back to our game play as a team and it paid off," Chabi Yo continued. "So we have to learn from that. Good thing we didn't lose. We were lucky. We have to do something about that."
UST doesn't need to wait long to test their composure again as they battle the Adamson Soaring Falcons next on Wednesday, September 18, still at the Mall of Asia Arena. – Rappler.com