DEO Cuajao hardly saw action in his rookie year with University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP.
But in the two games that he played in the 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup, he showcased his shooting abilities, tallying a team-best 17.5 points on a mercurial 56-percent shooting from deep, while also providing stingy defense in the Growling Tigers' gung-ho system.
Truth be told, the helter-skelter style UST had doesn't really veer that much from the patented Pumaren press employed by Derrick Pumaren, who will now call the shots for La Salle.
That's why one can't fault Cuajao for thinking that his decision is just a match made in heaven.
"Excited ako sa panibagong sistema ni coach Derrick kasi alam ko diinan yan sa depensa," he told 2OT. "Kung anong meron sa amin sa UST, di na kailangan mag-adjust kasi ganoon sa UST eh, depensa muna bago opensa."
Like his peers, Cuajao had a difficult choice to make when he bolted UST in the fallout following the controversial Bicol bubble.
But decisions had to be made, and with him now heading to Taft, the former Holy Child College of Davao standout is looking to make the most of this switch.
After all, the 19-year-old believes he could've been in a better position back in his rookie season in Espana.
"Yung unang dating ko kasi sa UST, parang two months na lang, UAAP na. So masasabi ko na di ako ready, kulang sa oras," the 6-foot-1 gunner said, who will take one year off before returning to action come UAAP Season 84.
"So ngayon, sa residency pa lang, dapat ma-adapt na namin yung sistema ni coach Derrick para ready na kami."
It also helps that Cuajao feels at ease, with fellow Davaoeno and presidential son-in-law Atty. Mans Carpio now the chief booster in La Salle.
"Magaan talaga sa loob ko especially nandoon si Atty. Mans Carpio na Davaoeno din. Kumportable kami," he said.
"Tingin ko naman good choice kami sa pagpili sa La Salle. Gagawin namin lahat para sa team at sa managers namin."