University of the Philippines stood unscathed above the rest in the UAAP Season 86 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
UP’s foreign student-athletes Malick Diouf and Favour Onoh laid the unassailable foundations of the Fighting Maroons’ perfect 3-0 starts in their respective divisions.
Diouf, the reigning men’s basketball Most Valuable Player, came out swinging with a three-game average of 17 points, 15.33 rebounds, 2.67 blocks, and 1.33 assists to begin the Fighting Maroons’ revenge tour from their Season 85 runner-up finish.
Such staggering numbers earned Diouf the first Collegiate Press Corps UAAP men’s Player of the Week for the period September 30 to October 8.
The Senegalese center, who tallied three consecutive double-doubles to keep his team on top, won the men’s weekly nod presented by the San Miguel Corporation and backed by minor sponsors Discovery Suites and Jockey.
The graduating State U’s main man, however, is locked in on being a reliable team player for the Maroons rather than receiving any individual citation.
“I’m not here for individual awards. I just wanna play. I’m just here to play and help my team. Everybody (in the league) wants to improve so (the MVP award) is a bonus,” said Diouf, who was unanimously voted for the weekly nod over over La Salle’s Kevin Quiambao, UE’s Precious Momowei, NU’s Kean Baclaan, and Adamson’s Ced Manzano.
In women’s basketball, another State U foreign student-athlete in Onoh was on a roll for the Maroons en route to a favorable position atop the team standings with UST.
Averaging 11.33 points, 13 rebounds, 3.33 steals, and 2.33 blocks, Onoh’s breakthrough display in UP’s first win in 12 years against eight-peat-seeking NU was the cherry on top of a dream start for the maroon shirts.
The Nigerian center had her best game of the season in the face of an esteemed champion side with 18 points and 15 boards, earning her the Collegiate Press Corps’ first-ever UAAP Women’s Player of the Week citation.
Onoh earned the college scribes’ women’s weekly plum over her UP teammate Christie Bariquit, UST’s Kent Pastrana, and Ateneo’s Kacey Dela Rosa.
Proving to be a formidable force on both ends of the floor, Onoh is thrilled to see the fruits of her labor in full effect to kickstart a promising campaign for the Maroons thus far.
“I’m so much excited about my game because I really want to support my team and we want to win. We worked hard from (the day) I arrived in the Philippines, especially for this season,” Onoh shared.
Both UP squads will bat for a fourth consecutive victory in as many games against FEU on Oct. 11 at the Mall of Asia Arena (men’s) and Adamson Gym (women’s).