UAAP 82: Coach Aldin making sure Chabi Yo proves to be much more than just a big man

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 09, 2019 02:04 PM
UAAP 82: Chabi Yo proves to be much more than just a big man
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

Soulemane Chabi Yo is the third foreign student-athlete in the last four years to be hailed as UAAP MVP.

Unlike De La Salle University’s Ben Mbala or the University of the Philippines’ Bright Akhuetie, however, Chabi Yo makes his living from the outside.

Yes, he also has quite a few moves inside, but more often than not, University of Sto. Tomas’ Beninise ball of energy faces up on his defender.

As it turns out, that’s because head coach Aldin Ayo does not want to play him as a big man. “Lahat ng players ko, I don’t want to use them na hanggang college lang because that will not be fair to the players. Si Chabi, actually he's our three guy lalo na next year because nag-recruit na kami ngayon ng bigs," he shared.

Standing at 6-foot-6, the Season 82 MVP is the shortest among current foreign student-athletes as his counterparts range from somewhere between 6-foot-8 to 6-foot-11.

His frame is also smaller especially compared to the powerhouse builds of Akhuetie or University of the East's Alex Diakhite.

As such, Chabi Yo's edge has always been his quickness - and coach Aldin wants him to take advantage of that all the way to the next step in his career. As he put it, "Pwede ba siya maglaro na big man overseas? No, he cannot, but he can play two and three spots because he has all the skills for that."

Still, the 22-year-old is well aware he has much room for improvement. "I need more effort and I need to play smarter. I can also create for my teammates if I'm not free," he shared.

He then continued, "I will do my best to score because it will help the team to win, but if there's a double and somebody else is open, I just have to look for the open man."

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