Matthew Daves forgoes final year with Ateneo to turn pro

Matthew Daves forgoes final year with Ateneo to turn pro

Ateneo veteran Matthew Daves forgoes final year with the Blue Eagles. –CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—After winning the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball championship with Ateneo, Matthew Daves will forgo his final playing year to try his luck at the professional level.

Daves, who won three championships with the Blue Eagles in Seasons 81, 82 and 85, begged off from playing his supposed swan song with the defending champions for Season 86.

“To the Ateneo community, I just want to say thank you for accepting and supporting me these last four years. Ateneo is my home and I will never forget the memories we all made together,” said the 24-year-old Daves.

Daves, though, did not disclose which professional league he will be applying for.

In his final collegiate year, the Filipino-Canadian player averaged merely 1.93 points and 1.13 rebounds per game for Ateneo.

It is Daves’ height and efficiency, however, which stand out from the numbers.

Standing at 6-foot-5, Daves is a wide-bodied forward who can run the floor in limited minutes and can deliver when it matters the most.

With Ateneo’s season on the line in Game 2 of the UAAP Finals, Daves attempted to shoot the ball four times and sank three of them. He finished with six points and an assist to help the Blue Eagles force a rubber match against the then-defending champion UP Fighting Maroons.

Ateneo Team manager Christopher Quimpo said Ateneo is behind his decision.

“We at Ateneo support our athlete’s decision if they want to turn professional. More than winning a championship, our program’s main goal is to turn student-athletes into professionals,” Quimpo said.

The reigning kings of the UAAP will now enter Season 86 with four key losses in Dave Ildefonso, Ange Kouame, BJ Andrade and Daves.

They will, however, be able to enforce their prized recruits who served have residency in Mason Amos, Jared Brown and Albert Opeña Jr.

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