After duking it out against the University of the Philippines’ Bright Akhuetie in two grueling games, it doesn’t get any easier for UAAP Season 82 MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo.
The University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers have earned the right to face the unblemished Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles in a best-of-three Finals series, after overcoming UP’s twice-to-beat advantage on Wednesday.
The Benenise workhorse posted yet another solid double-double in the deciding game, finishing 22 points and 16 rebounds, while playing solid defense against Akhuetie.
Speaking to reporters post-game, Chabi Yo reflected on UST’s tough road as they had to weather three straight knockout games to book a Finals trip.
“I feel very good, very happy to be in the finals. Difficult game. Very tough game. They really adjust. We tried to follow the system of the coach and be mentally tough to get the lead. The motivation, we wanted to win,” he said.
Chabi Yo has been nothing short of unstoppable since claiming the Most Valuable Player plum, posting a career-high 25 points in the first stage of the stepladder match against Far Eastern University.
He followed that up with 17-point, 15-rebound double-double in Game 1 against UP, and figuring in a duel with Akhuetie who 19 markers and 18 boards.
Chabi Yo’s magical run this season will reach its final challenge, as he is set to face Ateneo’s own foreign-student athlete Angelo Kouame.
The 6’6 UST slotman will once again be giving up some height, as Kouame is listed at 6-foot-10 with an incredibly long wingspan to boot.
The Final series, which begins on Saturday, will likely be determined as to which foreign student athlete manages to impose his will.