MANILA, Philippines -- After just four games in the NCAA Season 98 men's basketball tournament, Fil-Australian big man Cade Flores has already proven his worth for Arellano University.
The 6-foot-4 bruiser is averaging 11.75 points and 11.75 rebounds so far in NCAA Season 98, while filling in the big shoes left behind by Justin Arana.
He played his best game yet against two-time defending champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran on Sunday, putting up 18 points and 9 rebounds to power the Chiefs to a 72-69 upset. The loss ended the Knights' 14-game winning streak dating back to 2019.
Behind that double-double average and statement win, Flores has been hailed as this year's first Collegiate Press Corps NCAA Player of the Week presented by the Philippine Sports Commission.
The impact rookie bested De La Salle-College of St. Benilde's Migs Oczon, San Sebastian College's Rommel Calahat, and Lyceum of the Philippines University's Enoch Valdez for the weekly award handed out by scribes from print and online covering the beat.
For Flores, upsetting the defending champions shows that Arellano, as a team, is to be reckoned with.
"I'm liking the challenge. It helps build confidence with each other. We take each game as a challenge to us," said the 24-year-old after the Chiefs' first win over the Knights in six years.
Back then, the Chiefs were anchored by current PBA players Jiovani Jalalon and Kent Salado. Arellano went on to make the NCAA finals that season. It was also the last time that the Chiefs made it to the playoffs.
The Chiefs are now 3-1 in Season 98, giving Flores reason to hope that they can end that drought this year.
The Player of the Week award is supported by minor sponsors MNL Kingpin and Tinapayan Festival.