MANILA, Philippines – Before the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament even began, CSB Blazers star Will Gozum was already tagged as an early favorite for the next league MVP award.
Midway through the season, the 6-foot-7 bruiser has done that, and then some, after peaking with a career-high 34-point eruption on 13-of-17 shooting in the Blazers’ 92-79 rout of the JRU Heavy Bombers last Wednesday, October 26.
This marks the second time that the 23-year-old reset his career-high this season, beating his 25-point outing from CSB’s 85-72 win over the Mapua Cardinals last October 19.
Gozum’s newest flash of stardom got him the nod to be the Collegiate Press Corps NCAA Player of the Week presented by San Miguel Corporation and Philippine Sports Commission.
The fourth year big man edged out Arellano’s Cade Flores, San Beda’s Tony Ynot, San Sebastian’s Rhinwil Yambing, and Letran’s Louie Sangalang for the weekly honor decided and deliberated upon by print and online media regularly covering the league, and also supported by minor sponsors MNL Kingpin, Tinapayan Festival, and Jockey.
The season’s only two-time winner of the award so far, Gozum again shunned individual praise and stayed locked in to the bigger tasks at hand for the hard-luck Blazers, who have not yet broken a 22-year Final Four drought in the Grand Old League.
“I’m happy that I got my career-high, but I hope we keep this run going,” he said in Filipino.
“This is just my day today and I feel like my teammates will step up in the next games.
Likewise, head coach Charles Tiu is not letting his star ward’s positives outweigh the negatives as the Blazers continue to hold on to the season’s top spot with a 9-2 record.
“It is (what I’m looking for in Will) except for the turnovers. He really carried up but he still had seven turnovers and zero assists,” he said.
“His turnovers are mind-boggling so I guess we have to improve on his passing but he still played a great game and I tip my hat off to him. He was really good in this game.” – Rappler.com