Best Player of the Week: Joseph Yeo

On: 15 July 2008

SportsNews, 15 July 2008

One sign of an all-around player is the numerous ways he can hurt an opponent.

That’s where Sta. Lucia Realty could consider itself lucky for it has a Joseph “The Ninja” Yeo, who, as his moniker suggests, can sneak up on an unwitting victim and do a lot of damage.

The Realtors’ chief reliever shone on both ends of the floor in the week that was, making him the unanimous choice as the Smart/Accel PBA Press Corps’ Player of the Week for the period July 7 to 13.

The 25-year-old chief reliever to starter Ryan Reyes was practically everywhere in SLR’s games against Alaska and Talk N Text, not only coming up with career scoring games but also rebounding, assisting and harassing the opposition no end.

Those led to victories by the ninth-ranked Realtors in two knockout wildcard games and propelled them to the best-of-three quarterfinals against early qualifier Barangay Ginebra.

There were also Magnolia’s Lordy Tugade and Ginebra’s Mark Caguioa also coming through with exceptional games at the start of the quarters last Sunday while the likes of Kelly Williams, Lee Benson, Bitoy Omolon and Dennis Miranda were also vital cogs to SLR’s wins.

Still, it was Yeo who caught not only the eyes of the scribes regularly covering the league but also Realtors coach Boyet Fernandez.

“Joseph had matured a lot in his game. Even though he’s coming off the bench, he always steps up and that’s an indication of his maturity,” said Fernandez.

”One thing I really notice about Joseph is he can now play defense. I hope he will continue to improve on his game for he’s really a very good player.”

The former La Salle U standout, drafted third overall by Coca-Cola in the 2006 Draft and acquired in exchange for Mark Isip and Cesar Catli just before the current season started, showed the trust on him was founded by scoring a new career-high 27 points in a 99-86 win over Alaska last Wednesday.

Yeo had six of his points in the final 5:40 of the game when the Realtors broke the game’s seventh and final deadlock at 80 and outscored the Aces, 19-6, the rest of the way.

It was also Yeo who kept the game close at the half and his 11 points in the third period helped SLR get back in the game after falling behind by 11 early in the quarter.

He broke his previous career-high of 24 after shooting 9-of-12 field and his points were spiked by five rebounds, as many assists and a steal in 27 minutes.

The win ended a three-game losing streak by SLR and was only its second in its last nine games, third in its last 11, fourth in its last 13 and fifth in its last 16. More important, the Realtors got to play another day in their bid for the last slot in the quarters.

Yeo made sure they accomplished the goal that was so far-fetched to most.

Against TNT, the 6-foot, 175-lb. dervish was more awesome. In 23 minutes, he scored 29 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and 11-of-12 from the stripes.

Yeo had 26 points in the second half, 18 of them in the fourth quarter where he went perfect from the field (4-of-4) and from the free throw line (7-of-7).

Sta. Lucia led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but allowed TNT to tie the score at 57 midway through the third period before Yeo had eight of his points in a 12-1 run that gave the Realtors the lead for good.

Aside from staying alive, the Realtors also posted their 29th win of the season, which is already the second most in a season in franchise history and their most number of wins since racking up 31 in the 1997 season.

The Realtors’ streak was cut short by the Gin Kings’ 92-90 win last Sunday, in a game where Yeo only had nine points, three rebounds, three assists and a block.

But Fernandez knows his players can easily step up anew, with Yeo foremost among those leading the way.

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