WHILE Jamil Ortuoste’s battles with top freshmen from other schools had been hyped from the start of the season, the young Stag believes it could be teammate CJ Perez who might end up with the Rookie of the Year honors at the end of the NCAA basketball tournament.
Ortuoste’s duels with other first year players, particularly Perpetual Help’s Juneric Baloria, have been labeled battles of top rookie candidates.
But Ortuoste said he is not even thinking of the individual award with San Sebastian earning a semifinal spot but needing to win twice to advance to the final.
He said he would not feel bad if his fellow Stag Perez gets the title.
The Stags duo took over the Recto-based squad after the departure of the Pinatubo Trio of Calvin Abueva, Ian Sangalang and Ronald Pascual, and the two have lived up to expectations, helping lift San Sebastian to the Final Four.
"Masaya pero bonus na lang siguro 'yun kung makukuha ng kung sinu man sa amin," said Ortuoste. "Dahil alam namin na talagang pinaghirapan namin 'yun."
Ginawa namin 'yung role namin sa team at na-achieve namin ng buong team 'yung Final Four kaya talagang masaya kami and we feel so blessed."
Baloria is also among the top candidates for the top rookie honor, but Ortuoste said it would be fitting for Perez win the award.
"Syempre naman gusto namin kung anu makakabuti para sa isa't-isa," he said. "Kung di man ako makakuha nung (Rookie of the Year award) alam kong deserving si CJ para dun."