GAME respects game, and Kiefer Ravena was among the first to commend University of Santo Tomas rookie CJ Cansino for his scintillating triple-double performance on Sunday.
"Trip dub for my fellow birthday boi @cjcansino1," the former two-time UAAP MVP posted on his Twitter account, just moments after the Growling Tigers wunderkind dropped 20 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists in their 79-68 win over University of the East.
Told of the praise, Cansino was honored, humbled even, to have been noticed by one of his "idols" in Ravena.
"Idol ko yun eh. Ka-birthday ko pa," he said with a big grin as the two share the same birthdate of October 27.
Cansino, who turned 19 on Saturday, bared that he wanted to greet Ravena on his 25th birthday, yet shied away from doing so.
"Nakita ko nga kahapon pero nahiya lang ako batiin," he said, smiling from ear-to-ear. "Dati pinapanood ko rin siya kung paano siya maglaro kaya pasalamat na lang din ako na napansin niya ako."
Cansino doing the feat on one good leg makes his statline all the more impressive, evoking memories of players he looks up to like Ginebra's Scottie Thompson and Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook.
"Syempre masaya ako kasi pangarap ko ring maka-triple-double eh. Si Scottie, Mr. Triple-Double siya sa NCAA. Tapos idol na idol ko si Russell Westbrook. Tapos nagawa ko rin, so yung mga triple-double parang achievement sa akin," he said.
But for the 6-foot-1 swingman, that's his way of repaying all the sacrifices the coaching staff has done to help UST to get to where it is now, at fourth place with its even 5-5 record in the ongoing UAAP Season 81.
"Inspired ako, hindi lang dahil birthday ko, pero para sa mga taong grabe ang sina-sakripisyo para sa team, lalo na yung coaching staff," he said. "Last game namin, ang pangit ng nilaro namin. So para talaga sa kanila ito, para sa community and the coaches na sobra mag-sakripisyo para sa team."