LYCEUM kissed its Final Four hopes goodbye, but proved it has a bright future ahead in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The Pirates lost to San Beda, 60-76, on Wednesday — their ninth in 15 games, but rookie big man Joseph Gabayni showed he could become a force to be reckoned with in the next seasons.
Gabayni, who turns 21 on September 28, registered 22 points on 11-of-17 shooting, eight boards, and three blocks as he won his individual matchup with the Red Lions’ Ola Adeogun.
The Nigerian slotman tallied just nine points, six rebounds, and one assist as he was again hobbled by foul trouble.
“Nagpapasalamat ako kasi ganito ang nagiging result ng rookie year ko,” said Gabayni. “Pero hindi ko iniisip na ganun (na ako ang isa sa mga top big men sa liga).”
“Basta ako, naglalaro ako para sa team namin, hindi lang para sa akin.”
Despite the difference on the stats sheet, Gabayni noted he had a tough time against the 6-foot-8 Adeogun.
“Mahirap, syempre,” the 6-foot-5 center said. “Foreign player yan. Iba ba yung built ng katawan niya. “Pero talagang lumaban lang ako,” he added.
“Naging ganun lang yung naging result naming as a team.”
“Kulang talaga kami sa piyesa eh,” Gabayni continued. “Hindi naman sa hindi namin kaya, pero hindi lang kami maka-shoot eh.”
For his own individual improvement, Gabayni believes he has to keep gaining muscle and develop his mid-range accuracy.
“Kailangan ko pa ng mas malakas katawan at konting outside shooting para hindi masyadong ma-check.”