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.
“It wasn’t really payback,” said the 39-year-old. “On our part, we were just really hungry, and we really didn’t mind who our opponent was going to be. We were just focused on our goal of getting the championship,” said Yee.
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, March 21, 2021.
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.
“All of my hard work paid off, and this just might be the reward that the Lord has given me,” Yee added.
To cap it off, Yee was named 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.
“I always remind myself that this championship and Finals MVP, this is a blessing from the Lord and so, I return all glory to Him,” Yee said.
Asked 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 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)