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Tiebreaker Times


Gani Stevens shows respect, love for UE after Filoil victory

With big shoes to fill following the graduation of Malick Diouf, Goldwin Monteverde looks to maintain University of the Philippines’ place in the UAAP with their up-and-coming big men.

The Fighting Maroons’ newest recruits Gani Stevens and Dikachi Ududo now have to step up if the team aims to solidify their bid to reclaim the crown this year.

Of course, Stevens has to go through a lot of things both emotionally and physically to brace for the season grind.

And it included facing his former school University of the East in the Filoil Ecooil 17th ECJ Preseason Cup.

After his first match against the Red Warriors, Stevens had nothing but love for the school that served as his first home.

“I wish I could say it’s just another game, but I left on good terms with UE. I love all the guys over there, the coaching staff,” he shared.

The wide-bodied 6-foot-7 big man notched six points, four rebounds, and two blocks, ending up with the highest box plus-minus in their 71-60 rout of the Red Warriors.

Stevens understands the gargantuan task ahead, having to work with his fellow bigs to fill the void left by the former UAAP MVP.

“I think we all know what Malick did last year, and the kind of hole he left in our team. So Dikachi and I are really working hard to fill those shoes. We know how big of a role he had last year, and we hope to fill those shoes,” said Stevens.

Currently, he feels at ease knowing that he can trust teammates like Sean Alter and Ududo to provide the same effort he does when he’s off the floor.

#ReadMore  Ateneo, La Salle end first round with twin slates

Additionally, head coach Goldwin Monteverde praised his big men as they remained undefeated in the preseason meet.

“I’m very happy. They’re really working hard talaga, halos every practice, the bigs are doing their part and we’re expecting naman in time that they’ll improve more,” Monteverde concluded.

Written By

Luis Licas is a sportswriter from the Philippines. He is currently taking up AB Communication at the Ateneo de Manila University. He writes for Ateneo’s official school publication The GUIDON, where he covers basketball, football, baseball, volleyball, and other collegiate sports. He also competed in the UAAP for the school's track and field team.

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