DAVAO CITY – Davao Occidental captain Mark Yee moved away from his team-mates circling the three-point line to push against Bicol on Monday night in the first round of the Chooks to Go MPBL Lakan South.
Battle-hardened Yee was still angry that teammate Eman Calo gave up an unnecessary foul on the back seat and gave Bicol a lifeline with less than two minutes remaining.
However, the crush did not take place without Yee and his four other teammates having to approach the Tigers to include him and show the greatest respect for their leader.
Yee was a role player in his time at the PBA, and has proven himself to be a certified star in the MPBL and a player whose young outstanding achievements he looks up to – a stature that he has earned after tireless efforts for the Tigers has played in the league over the past two seasons.
"I just didn't want us to do stupid fouling games when our opponent is halfway and we're at the top," Yee later explained in Filipino, explaining his gesture after the Tigers with the highest seeds had secured a 77-71 triumph in Game 1 over the No. 8 volcanoes in their best-of-three series.
"I wasn't happy. We have to be better. We have to be more mature in games like this."
Yee's calm leadership and work ethic set the tone for the Tigers, who had to fight back from a 13-point hole against a Bicol team that played free from the burden of expectation.
38-year-old Yee ended the race with 20 points and 12 rebounds and teamed up with Swingman Billy Robles, who hit 11 points and nine boards, including five from the offensive glass.
"We had to focus on defense," said Robles. "Many players on this team can score, but it is important that we help Mark (Yee) defend."
The Brand Sardines of the Zamboanga family also achieved a win in the second round after defeating the No. 4 Batangas City Athletics-Tanduay (78-74) at the start of their series. INQ
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