This Isit: Persistence pays off as Mapua guard sees fortunes finally change for better
Mapua guard CJ Isit celebrates a career game. Jerome Ascano

CJ ISIT has gone through more than his share of tribulation in what he described as a trying season.

It's high time his fortune changes for the better.

Isit played a career game when Mapua needed it most, scoring 27 points in an 81-76 win over Jose Rizal University on Friday that installed the Cardinals as the No. 3 seeds entering the NCAA Season 91 playoffs.

The big game set up the Cardinals for a Final Four face-off with No. 2 seed Letran and marked a turnaround for the Toronto-raised Isit, who had to endure personal trials in a rare winning season for his school.

“It was really tough,” Isit said. “It’s probably one of the toughest season for me inspite being a winning season (for the school.)”

[See Mapua completes transformation from cellar-dweller to No. 3 seed in NCAA playoffs]

During the course of the campaign, Isit suffered a dislocated elbow and sore eyes that sidelined him for a good six weeks. A couple of weeks ago, the player also had to go through a death in the family.

“I had my dislocation, had sore eyes, and a couple of weeks ago, my grandmother passed away," he said. "It’s been tough but it’s also inspiring."

He finally got over the hump on Friday when he scored 16 points in the first half alone to stake Mapua to a 38-32 lead. Isit added four points in a critical 8-2 run that put the Cardinals ahead, 67-60, in the second half.

Allwell Oraeme later paid tribute to Isit’s performance, saying he is glad to see his teammate starting to get back to his usual form.

“He was (on) fire,” said Oraeme, who at one point dished out a baseball pass which Isit finished on the break. “He was sprinting and playing defense. He helped us today. He stepped up. I’m happy for him.

"He is getting back from his injury.”

Despite the trials, Isit said his confidence never wavered as he tried his best to contribute for the Cardinals squad that has now won nine of 10 games going to the Final Four.

His persistence paid off.

“It’s pretty much the extra work and the confidence. I’ve been struggling this season but I stuck with it and everytime I take my shot, I have confidence,” Isit said.

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