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Ebona rues UAAP exit: 'Hindi man lang ako naka-exit nang maayos'

by Niel Victor Masoy, November 07, 2019 5:05am

Far Eastern University‘s (FEU) first phase stepladder Semifinals game against University of Santo Tomas (UST) on Wednesday was Barkley Ebona’s last game in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Men’s basketball tournament.

And the 6-foot-6 center was just sorry he exited the said contest and ultimately the league, unceremoniously.

"Masakit na hindi ko man lang nakanta yung (FEU) hymn namin sa last game ko. Hindi man lang ako naka-exit nang maayos,” said the graduating Ebona, who put up nine points and seven rebounds in 13 minutes of action in the game.

Ebona’s stint in the crucial match ended prematurely as he incurred two unsportsmanlike fouls, with the last one he got after the referees deemed he elbowed Chabi Yo with 1:19 left in the second quarter.

The 23-year-old said he should have approached the incident better, but he insisted he didn’t really hit Chabi Yo. Ebona claimed the Beninese center and this season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) just flopped in the play, instead.

“Masakit kasi siyempre alam ko senior ako eh. Dapat role model ako sa team ko. Sinabi ni coach sa amin na dapat 'yung mga seniors 'yung hindi dapat unang mawalan ng disiplina,” rued Ebona.

"Para sa akin, flop lang 'yun e. Naka-hands up lang ako tapos nung pagharap niya, biglang humiga siya then tayo kaagad. Parang ang nipis naman nun para sa thrown out agad. Matatanggap ko pa 'yun kung foul lang 'yun."

While Ebona entered the FEU dugout early, he made sure to motivate the Tamaraws, who were down by as much 28 points, 54-28, at the half.

"Sinabi ko lang sa kanila na kahit wala na ako, dapat hindi sila panghinaan ng loob. Mag-step up lahat ng ipapasok para sa community. Maglaro pa rin nang tama para at least sa dulo may chance pa."

FEU, indeed, had a chance as it got within five points, 70-65, following its massive 37-16 run capped by a Wendell Comboy free throw at the 6:37 mark of the fourth quarter.

The Growling Tigers, though, answered with an 8-0 run capped by a Subido booming triple to create a 13-point, 78-65 separation with 1:28 left, which proved to be enough for them to hold on for the triumph.

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