Veteran forward Mark Yee says his Davao Occidental Tigers squad wasn’t focused on gaining any sort of payback against the San Juan Knights, a team that defeated them for the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Datu Cup crown back in 2019 on their own home turf.
The 39-year old added that the Tigers would have remained hungry for the title, regardless of who the opponent was.
"Hindi naman siguro bawi,” said the 39-year old. “Sa amin naging gutom lang kami saka naging humble kami lagi kasi nga hindi naman talaga namin intensyon kung sino ang makalaban namin. Focus lang kami basta ang goal namin na kunin itong championship na ito.”
Yee came up with huge plays on both ends of the floor down the stretch to help the Tigers vanquish the Knights to capture the MPBL Lakan title on Sunday. The San Sebastian-Cavite product gave Davao Occidental the 89-88 lead after burying a three-pointer from the left wing over the 6-foot-4 Jeff Tajonera's outstretched arms with 13.4 ticks left in overtime.
On the next play, the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Defensive Player of the Year showed exactly why he was given that recognition as he swatted away the layup attempt of San Juan’s Jhonard Clarito to seal the championship-winning victory.
Yee ended up with an impressive stat-line of 19 points, 12 rebounds, three dimes, and three blocks.
"Nagbunga lahat ng paghihirap ko, kumbaga ito yung reward na ibinigay sa akin ng Panginoon."
To cap it off, Yee was named as the Chooks-to-Go Finals Most Valuable Player with averages of 13.5 points, 10.25 rebounds, 2.75 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks in the four-game series.
But with all the recognition raining down on him, the 6-foot-3 team captain remained humble, not forgetting who made it all possible.
"Lagi kong sinasabi na itong championship at Finals MVP, biyaya ito galing sa Panginoon saka siguro yung sakripisyo ko rin sa team na ito kaya binabalik ko rin yung papuri sa Kanya," he said.
Asked about what role Yee plays on this championship squad, Davao Occidental head coach Don Dulay rained down praises on his big man. And the Tigers mentor was so delighted to see his leader be finally rewarded.
"He deserves all the praise. If you've been with us since day one, he's been a leader. He's always to be the first in practice, he works so hard. He shows everybody what it takes to be on that level," said the 40-year-old coach. (JNP)