HE says he doesn’t care about individual awards, but his actions say otherwise.
Joseph Gabayni sustained his impressive play on Monday night when he led Lyceum to an 80-78 victory over Mapua in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The rookie slotman tallied game-highs of 23 points, 10 boards, and three blocks on top of four assists and one steal in 36 minutes. And yet he insisted the Rookie of the Year plum is the least of his priorities.
“Basta makatulong lang sa team para makapasok na sa Final Four,” the 19-year-old Manila native said in a chat with Spin.ph. “Hindi ko inaasam yung mga award, basta para sa team.”
Gabayni has been a huge boost for a Lyceum side that had been a big man short of becoming a legitimate contender in the country’s oldest collegiate league.
With the arrival of the 6-foot-5 Gabayni, a transferee from University of Santo Tomas who failed to see action in the UAAP, the Pirates’ chances of a breakthrough Final Four appearance have vastly improved.
“For so many years, alam natin na ang Lyceum walang big man, so we recruited Gabayni,” Pirates coach Bonnie Tan said. “And gusto natin mapakita na ma-utilize `yung height niya.”
Gabayni will have his hands full in the Pirates’ next game against a Jose Rizal University side bolstered by Ghanian big man Razak Abdul Wahab.