NATIONAL University high school sensation Hubert Cani has yet to make up his mind on whether to move to another school or join the Bulldogs in the UAAP men's basketball tournament.
Cani led the NU Bullpups to a 16-game sweep of the UAAP juniors tournament last season - a splendid run capped by their two victories over an Ateneo Blue Eaglets team led by MVP Thirdy Ravena in the finals.
The performance of NU’s 17-year-old shooting guard, who averaged 13.8 points and a team-best 6.1 assists during the 14-game eliminations, has made him one of the sought-after high school players today.
The celebrated point guard said he has yet to decide on where he wants to play college ball, focusing instead on making himself an even better player in preparation for the next phase of his career.
“Kailangan ko rin mag-extra (practice) sa skills ko, defense ko, shooting ko,” Cani said, adding that his coaches’ opinion will be a huge factor in his decision.
“Sobrang big deal para sa akin ’yung college kaya kailangan ko sundin ’yung mga advice ng coaches ko, sundin ko ’yung mga plano nila para sa akin,” said Cani.
Sources said Ateneo is one of the schools in hot pursuit of Cani as the team looks to regain supremacy after its string of five UAAP championships ended miserably when the Blue Eagles missed the Final Four.
However, the league's controversial residency rules should work in NU's favor since Cani will have to sit out two years if he decides to move to the Eagles' nest.
Aside from that, the Eagles already have former juniors star Jerie Pingoy, the former FEU Baby Tamaraw who moved to Katipunan in a controversial transfer prior to the last season.
Cani, described as a ‘pass-first guard’ by UAAP observers despite his scoring abilities, should be a great addition to a Bulldogs team that has not had a great point guard during Bobby Ray Parks' stay with the squad.
Cani said he learned a lot from the experience of playing against Asia’s best during his stint with the national youth squad in the Fiba-Asia U16 Championship in Vietnam two years ago.
“’Yung experience sa ibang bansa, nakakalaban mo mga foreigners, mga coaches ko tinutulungan ako. It taught me a lot,” said Cani.
Far Eastern University coach Nash Racela, part of the coaching staff of that national youth team handled by his brother Olsen, said Cani is ready for the college game.
“Hubert is already fit for college basketball. He knows the game very well. He could make an immediate impact,” said Racela.