After dominating the field not only in terms of statistics but also with how he played on the court, CJ Cansino will be awarded the UAAP Most Valuable Player award for Season 80.
Cansino dominated the competition, ending the elimination round with 88.4286 statistical points, a full 18 points separating him and the runner-up for the award. He led the league in points (24.6 points per game) and rebounds (12.9 rebounds per game) while providing ample playmaking (3.0 assists per game) and defense (1.4 steals per game) for the Tiger Cubs.
The Tiger Cubs had an up and down season, ending the first round at third place with a 5-2 record, then starting the second on the wrong foot after losing three straight games. They ultimately found their bearings after beating the FEU Baby Tamaraws in yesterday’s do-or-die affair, and at the forefront of all of this was Cansino.
Cansino’s game will remind fans of a former Growling Tiger in Ed Daquioag. He’s an excellent athlete who can go from one end of the floor to the other in an instant. Pairing his athleticism is are impressive physical tools, most notably his strong upper body and length. He used these tools to the brim, often driving his way to the rim whether it be for baskets or to draw fouls. He averaged 9.3 free throw attempts per game (first in the league) while making 77.7 percent of his attempts (third in the league).
Coming in second was Kai Sotto of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets. The 7 foot 1 wunderkind wound up with 70.2143 SPs, averaging 12.9 points per game, 11.5 rebounds per game (second in the league). He was the main anchor of Ateneo’s league-leading defense, topping the league in blocks with an average of 3.9 blocks per game.
In third was last year’s MVP runner-up SJ Belangel, also of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets, who came out with 68.8571 SPs. He was the main driving force of Ateneo’s offense, averaging 17.2 points per game (third in the league) and 4.6 assists per game (sixth in the league). Other than his exploits offensively, he was also an all-around force, averaging 5.2 rebounds per game and 1.7 steals per game.
At fourth place was last year’s Finals MVP LJay Gonzales with 65.7143 SPs. The undisputed leader of the Baby Tamaraws, he fueled their offense with his electric style of play. He averaged 15.4 points per game (seventh in the league), 7.5 rebounds per game and 5.6 assists per game. What was even more impressive was his defense, as he led the league in steals averaging 2.3 steals per game.
Completing the rest of the Mythical Five is Dave Ildefonso of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets. The youngest of the Ildefonso boys was a nightmare for defenses at the wing position, as Dave averaged 13.1 points (tenth in the league) and 3.0 assists for the season. His rebounding was also a key component of Ateneo’s run, as he ended with an average of 8.1 rebounds per game.