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Yam gives Ateneo a glimpse of the future



When Hazelle Yam landed a spot on the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles’ basketball team, it was for a vital role: the squad was grooming her to become their next go-to player in the near future.

Yam has not disappointed. After a splendid rookie season, Yam finished second in terms of team scoring this year, behind fifth-year center Danica Jose, showing the team even more flashes of her capacity to lead.

In the Lady Eagles’ most important game of the season yet, Yam proved why going after her was definitely worth it, as she delivered with big blows to carry the Loyola side to the Final Four.

Ateneo ousted the University of Santo Tomas, 64-53, in overtime on Wednesday, in a game where Yam topscored with 26 points. The Lady Eagles previously hadn’t won any games against the Tigresses in the elimination round, but in the playoff game for the last semi-finals berth, the former showed more maturity on the floor.

Yam scored 10 in the second quarter, where Ateneo established its biggest lead at 16. UST fought back gallantly, but Yam took over in extension, scoring 10 more to break a 50-all deadlock.

“Ayaw ko lang i-let down yung teammates ko, lalo na yung coach namin,” Yam said after the win.

“Sabi sa akin lakasan ko lang ang loob ko because I got their back naman. Noong open ako, tinira ko na. Thankfully, pumasok.”

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Yam gives Ateneo a glimpse of the future

The second year guard thought of helping her teammates – especially the graduating ones – get back to the Final Four.
It would have been the last time they’d played together if they lost the match, but Yam’s leadership and composure was topnotch when it mattered the most — pretty impressive for a sophomore.

“Gusto ko makapasok ulit yung seniors namin sa Final Four, and since sinasabi nila yun, binigay ko na lahat sa court,” she said.

“Naisip naman namin na possible yun (talunin sila). With the help of our seniors and teammates, may tiwala kami sa isa’t isa.”

Ateneo square off with the University of the East on Saturday, and Yam believes the Lady Eagles can still elevate their game to a different level.

In only her second year in the league, Yam is already showing Ateneo a glimpse of how the future could be, and she is leading the charge.

“Minsan bumababa yung laro namin, minsan tumataas. Sisiguraduhin namin na tuloy-tuloy na. Hindi pa siguro kami satisfied kasi alam naming kaya pa namin itaas.”