COACH Aldin Ayo is pleased with Soulemane Chabi Yo’s performance in the offseason but is counting on University of Santo Tomas’ Beninese reinforcement to raise his game for UAAP Season 82.
"Consistent naman si Chabi Yo kasi he's athletic and agile. Pero marami pa siyang kailangang iimprove in terms of his skills and execution kasi in terms of talent, nandoon naman yun eh," said the multi-titled bench tactician.
The 6-foot-6 Chabi Yo is set to play his first UAAP tournament with the Growling Tigers after transferring from Universities and Colleges of Luzon Athletic Association team Colegio de San Lorenzo.
Chabi Yo, 23, averaged 23.6 points, 14.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.9 blocks, and 1.3 steals for Ironcon-UST in the eliminations of the 2019 PBA D-League.
"The problem is he's the smallest foreigner sa UAAP," said Ayo.
Ateneo's 6-foot-10 Ivorian reinforcement Ange Kouame won the Rookie of the Year honors, while UAAP MVP Bright Akhuetie, a 6-foot-8 Nigerian, is back for University of the Philippines.
Also back for another go-round is 6-foot-10 Senegalese Issa Gaye of NU and 6-foot-8 Cameroonian Papi Sarr of Adamson.
Congolese Lenda Douanga, standing at 6-foot-11, will join Sarr in the Soaring Falcons' nest, as Senegalese Adama Diakhite of UE (6-foot-9) and Cameroonian Patrick Tchuente of FEU (6-foot-11) are also set for their debuts this season.
Although entering the year without any reinforcements, La Salle will still have a formidable frontcourt with the 6-foot-8 Justine Baltazar and 6-foot-9 Fil-Aussie Brandon Bates manning the paint.
Ayo wants Chabi Yo to develop his toughness this early in the Growling Tigers' buildup.
"Palagi kong sinasabi sa kanya na yung kakulangan niya sa height, kailangan niyang bawiin sa ibang bagay. Masaya naman ako dahil nakikinig siya sa akin," he said.