ANY MVP talk may be premature at this time, but the chants only proves how hot Ed Daquioag has been for the University of Santo Tomas Tigers in UAAP Season 78.
Daquioag heard M-V-P chants from the UST crowd on Sunday after the 24-year-old scored 17 of his 27 points in the final period to lift the Growling Tigers to a 67-59 win over University of the Philippines.
Daquioag, who entered the game against UP averaging 23 points per contest, is overwhelmed by the chants of the UST crowd but made it clear that it is still too early to say whether he can really be an MVP material.
“Titignan natin. Pero maaga pa para ma-decide ‘yan,” said Daquioag, who won an MVP crown during his stint with Rizal Technological University in the National Capital Region Athletic Association (NCRAA) years ago.
“Hindi ko pa iniisip ‘yan (MVP). Kasi focus every game muna ako.”
“Unexpected. Overwhelmed,” said Daquioag, when asked for his reaction to the UST crowd. “Kasi ‘yun ang sinisigaw ng UST community.”
Thanks to Daquioag, the Growling Tigers are off to their best start since 1999, going 3-0 to take the solo lead following victories over Adamson, tournament favorites Far Eastern University and now the UP Maroons.
UST coach Bong Dela Cruz said he already expects Daquiaog’s offensive outburst this season following his increased role in a team where he played in the shadows of Jeric Teng, Aljon Mariano and Jeric Fortuna for so long.
To make matters worse, he suffered an ankle injury that took him out last season.
“Last year pa lang, ineexpect ko na ‘yan kay Ed. But unfortunately, na-injured siya sa ankle niya. I hope lang na maging healthy siya throughout the season para matulungan niya ‘yung team,” said Dela Cruz.
“’Yung confidence niya, very high. He is just enjoying the game,” the UST coach added.
Daquioag said he is only taking advantage of his bigger role in the team, being one of its veterans.
“May kanya-kanya kaming role sa team. Ngayon, gina-grab ko na talaga ‘yung opportunity na binigay sa akin ni coach,” said Daquiaog.