By: Justin Valencia
Manila-Frontrow’s Aris Dionisio and Cebu-Casino Ethyl Alcohol’s Will McAloney are some of the best big men in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season.
The two up-and-coming bigs, who just made the jump to the PBA, were part of the starters in the last All-Star game of the fastest-growing regional basketball league.
Speaking in Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ CPT Crossover, presented by SMART and supported by LGR Wednesday, Dionisio and McAloney both agreed that their toughest match-up in the MPBL was veteran Mark Yee of Davao Occidental-Cocolife.
“Ang daming beteranong big man sa MPBL. Pero ‘yung gusto kong makalaban lagi is si Kuya Mark Yee kasi ang dami kong natututumam sa kanya,” said the 6-foot-5 lefty out of Cebu, the 15th overall pick in the 2019 PBA Rookie Draft.
“Sa two years ko sa MPBL, talagang si Kuya Mark Yee lang eh,” added Dionisio, who is the ninth overall pick of the same class.
Standing at just 6-foot-3 — a little small for a big man — Yee continued to stun players in the MPBL, proving age is just a number at 38 years old.
The eight-year journeyman in the PBA remains to be Davao’s rock, averaging 13.8 points and 10.9 rebounds in the stalled Lakan Cup.
“Kahit mas matangkad ako sa kanya, basta bumox-out ‘yun, kahit ‘di na tumalon makukuha niya ‘yung bola eh. Tapos ‘pag pumoste naman, ‘yung tira niya, ‘kala mo nakatalikod, biglang ihahagis, pumapasok,” said Dionisio of Yee’s brilliance on the court.
McAloney also relished the chance with Yee on the court, taking lessons on how the latter positions himself for a rebound.
“Ang galing niya pumwesto sa ilalim kapag kumukuha ng rebound. Ang galing niya talaga.”
Allyn Bulanadi of Basilan Steel then also chimed in, as another guest of the podcast hosted by veteran journalist Cedelf Tupas.
“Ito nakakagulat, injured na, naglalaro pa.”
Bulanadi was referring to an incident five months ago, where Yee suffered a partial ACL tear and a torn calf — which should have sidelined him for at least two months — back in Game Two of their quarterfinals series against Bicol-LCC Stores.
However, Yee played through the injury in Game Three and the rest of the playoffs before it was suspended in March 15.