MANILA, Philippines – For 12 years, there was a drought of triple-doubles in the UAAP men's division.
In 2006, Marvin Cruz had 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists for University of the Philippines (UP). Several players would come close to such numbers, but none broke through for the next 12 years.
Then, in a span of just one week, two separate players registered historic stat lines in the Season 81 men's basketball tournament.
First, it was Juan Gomez de Liano of UP, putting up a 15-point, 12-rebound, 12-assist line in a 94-81 triumph over University of the East last October 21.
Seven days later, University of Santo Tomas (UST) rookie CJ Cansino tallied 20 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 79-68 win – incidentally, also against the Red Warriors.
"Masaya, siyempre dahil nakuha ko 'yung triple-double. Pero sinunod ko lang kasi 'yung sistema eh, 'yung sistema na sharing the ball at lahat kailangan gumana," said Cansino, after becoming the first rookie since 2003 to register a triple-double.
Gomez de Liano was not at all surprised to discover that Cansino had joined him in the triple-double club of Season 81.
"They were saying, 'Juan, wala ka na, there's a guy, rookie pa 'yan'," Gomez de Liano related, after UP absorbed an 80-72 loss to Adamson University also last October 28.
"(I asked) 'Sino?' 'CJ.' I wasn't even shocked. Good for him," he added.
The reason that Gomez de Liano is unsurprised is that he and Cansino train in the same gym, and he is well aware of the rookie's skills.
"We have the same trainer, shout-out to Better Basketball," said Gomez de Liano, last season's Rookie of the Year. "So we get along, we do some workouts together and we watch film, stuff like that, he's a good guy."
"He's a talented young kid who can really hoop," he also said.
With the men's basketball tournament heading into its closing stretch, Gomez de Liano would not be surprised if another player joins him and Cansino in the triple-double club.
"Another guy, yeah. I think it will just keep on going," he said. "It depends on the player."
"But I think CJ has the talent to do that, so I'm not surprised about it," he added.
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