Stevens seen as the perfect player to fill in for Diouf after Season 86

Rom Anzures, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 07 2023 02:06 PM

Former UE big man Gani Stevens will suit up for UP starting UAAP Season 87. UAAP Media.
Former UE big man Gani Stevens will suit up for UP starting UAAP Season 87. UAAP Media.

MANILA -- University of the Philippines once again made a huge splash after announcing its recruitment of Gani Stevens on Tuesday.

And while the Filipino-American big still needs to finish his one-year residency and sit out the incoming UAAP men’s basketball season, Fighting Maroons head coach Goldwin Monteverde already liked what he saw from the former UE Red Warrior.

“Nakita naman na natin siyang mag laro last season,” said Monteverde of Stevens, who posted numbers of 9.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per contest in Season 85.

“Siyempre, you’re going to be thinking about Season 87. Especially last year ni Malick Diouf, so he will be a perfect replacement for Malick,” he added. 

The graduating Diouf, who was hailed as last season’s MVP after putting up averages of 10.79 points, 10.86 rebounds, 2.86 assists, and 1.57 blocks per game, will still be leaving a huge gap even with the squad’s already-loaded front line. 

This is why Monteverde emphasized the importance of being able to add Stevens to their roster after this season.

“Talagang kailangan namin yung ganung players. The way I see it, talagang bagay na bagay siya para sa team namin.”

Aside from Stevens, UP also welcomed Francis Lopez, NCAA Juniors MVP Luis Pablo, Seven Gagate, Joshua Coronel, Sean Alter, Reyland Torres, and Janjan Felicilda.

Also in the mix for Season 87 is 2022 no.1 ranked high school hooper Jared Bahay and San Beda Red Cubs’ star Chris Hubilla.