EVEN with the exit of Landy Sanjo, Southwestern University star Mark Jayven Tallo believes the Cobras remain in good hands with replacement Mupungu Boko coming on board.
The reigning MVP of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) said the 6-foot-8 Boko from the Republic of Congo has definitely shown a lot of promise in the few times he practiced with the Cobras.
“Boko is a very promising player. After months of practicing, he started to grow both physically and with his game as well. He started dunking on every big man we had in the gym,” said the 6-foot Tallo, son of former PBA player Mark Anthony Tallo.
“He was giving us all a hard time, blocking our shots. He was even shooting three-pointers.”
Boko definitely has huge shoes to fill following the departure of Sanjo, who will no longer see action for the team this year owing to academic deficiencies.
For the past two years, the 6-foot-7 Sanjo was the Cobras’ main man, averaging 22.2 points, 12.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, and 1.6 steals while leading the school to the Cesafi title last season.
Initially, the departure of Sanjo has left Tallo concerned with the Cobras' repeat bid.
“I’ve been with (Landry) Sanjo for two years and I can’t imagine how we’ll play without him. I mean he has been the one who helped us to be a strong team. We’ve been in the finals for two years with him, and it’s a big loss that he will not be part of us anymore,” said Tallo of his bosom buddy.
The former La Salle guard admitted at first glance, he had second thoughts about Boko.
“The first time I saw him, I was like this guy is so thin. How can he expect to play against such strong imports like Shooster Olago and Espoir Toyambi,” said Tallo.
But everything changed the moment he finally shared the court with Boko.
“Boko is very coachable and determined to play as a champion. So I think Boko will also make us a strong team,” said the SWU stalwart.
For his part, Boko said he felt great to finally become part of the varsity team after spending a couple of years as a trainee.
He also vowed to do his best to help the Cobras retain their title.
“I feel very good. I’m just going to bring the best that I can to the team,” said the soft-spoken forward.