Kacey dela Rosa Ateneo UAAP

Ateneo’s Kacey Dela Rosa.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Ateneo’s rising star Kacey Dela Rosa credited her UAAP Season 86 Most Valuable Player run to her Gilas Pilipinas Women experience.

Before the season, Dela Rosa trained under Gilas coach Pat Aquino and played in the William Jones Cup, leading to her first Most Valuable Player award in the UAAP Season 86 women’s basketball tournament 

“Gilas was a big help for me. It was a great experience because our opponents were tall and it’s my first time to compete against those kinds of players,” said Dela Rosa in Filipino.

The 19-year-old Dela Rosa became the first Ateneo women’s  basketball MVP since Cassy Tioseco claimed the top honor in UAAP Seasons 69 and 70 (2006-07), averaging 19.57 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.64 blocks, and 1.5 steals per game, accumulating 83.857 statistical points to lead the Blue Eagles to their second straight Final Four appearance.

But for the sophomore, the top individual honor including her mythical five award will continue to motivate her to achieve her ultimate goal — winning a championship for Ateneo.

“I’m happy but this award is just a bonus. Our goal with coach is to become champions,” Last season’s Rookie of the Year said. “I think we have to work on our turnovers because our errors took out some of our chance,”

For now, Dela Rosa will take a rest as she is set to embrace a bigger role for the Blue Eagles with Jhazmin Joson graduating.

“I’m pressured because it’s just my third year and I need to lead my team, which is composed of a lot of rookies. I’m still thankful to lead this team because I know that we will help each other,” she said.

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