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Sports

Chiba's Togashi stands tall, wins the crowd with EASL campaign to remember

John Bryan Ulanday - Philstar.com
Chiba's Togashi stands tall, wins the crowd with EASL campaign to remember
Yuki Togashi was adjudged as the Final Four Most Valuable Player with norms of 26.0 points, 6.0 assists and five triples in two games.
EASL

LAPU-LAPU CITY – A thousand miles away from Japan, the Chiba Jets found a home in Cebu with captain Yuki Togashi leading the charge en route to a perfect championship run in the East Asia Super League.

Albeit the smallest man in the tournament, the 5-foot-6 Togashi shone the biggest — and the brightest — as he became an unlikely crowd darling among the Filipino fans in Chiba’s EASL coronation following a slim 72-69 finale win over the Seoul SK Knights of South Korea at the Hoops Dome here.

And Togashi, who was adjudged as the Final Four Most Valuable Player with norms of 26.0 points, 6.0 assists and five triples in two games, returned the favor in style.

“This is incredible. Thank you, guys. You’re amazing. It was like a home game for us and we’re really glad to play in such an environment,” said Togashi, who fired 24 points and seven assists highlighted by the title-clinching freethrows in the waning seconds of the dramatic finale. 

Togashi last year also captained the Japan national team in its qualification to the Paris Olympics after rising as the top Asian team in the FIBA World Cup co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.

It did not take long for the ace playmaker to add another jewel to his treasure chest with the EASL title in front of the ever-passionate Pinoy fans, whom Togashi credited for setting the stage and the bright lights for him and the Jets.

For the 30-year-old floor general after being showered by "MVP" chants by the Cebuanos, the Philippine crowd allowed him to be just him. 

“Again, it's not like what I did but maybe the environment that everybody loves and supports basketball in. I think it's not only myself but I think it's the whole atmosphere that created that environment,” Togashi beamed.

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