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King Malick

Malick Diouf became the fourth player from the University of the Philippines to bag the highest individual award after an impressive showing in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 men’s basketball tournament.

The 6-foot-10 big man was named Most Valuable Player during the awarding ceremonies held before the Game 2 tipoff of the best-of-three finals between UP and Ateneo de Manila University yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Diouf’s consistent double-double performance during the eliminations powered the Fighting Maroons to 11 wins in 14 outings and fueled their drive for a repeat.

The Season 84 Finals MVP collected 73.857 statistical points to outshine Blue Eagles guard Forthsky Padrigao, who came in second in the statistical race with 71.571 SPs.

“I just want to say thank you for this blessing. I thank my teammates for helping me get this individual award. But the job is not yet done. We just hope in two or three hours we will celebrate in our school,” the second-year player said.

He had a double-double average of 10.8 points and 10.9 rebounds with 2.9 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.6 blocks per game.

The Senegalese extended his monster performance in the Final Four to lead the Fighting Maroons to its third finals appearance in four seasons.

He also made huge contributions in Game 1 of the series en route to a 72-66 victory last Sunday, coming up with nine points, 10 rebounds and two steals.

Diouf is the first UP player to receive the MVP honors after Nigerian Bright Akhuetie won the award in 2018. Other UP players to win MVP were Fort Acuna in 1968 and Eric Altamirano in 1986.

For the sixth straight season, the league handed the award to a foreign student-athlete.

Ben Mbala of De La Salle University won the recognition in 2016 and 2017, followed by Akhuetie, Soulmane Chabi Yo of University of Santo Tomas and Ange Kouame of Ateneo.

Diouf was joined by Padrigao in the Mythical Five along with Luis Villegas of University of the East, Ateneo forward Dave Ildefonso, and UP teammate Carl Tamayo.

Green Archers’ Kevin Quiambao was named Rookie of the Year.

Meanwhile, special awards were also handed with Adamson University top shooter Jerom Lastimosa taking the PS Bankable Player of the Season recognition while Tamayo, last year’s RoY, received the Lazada Swag Player of the Season.

Lastimosa also got P50,000 while Tamayo received P30,000.

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