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Oftana wants championship over MVP award

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REIGNING National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s basketball Most Valuable Player (MVP) Calvin Oftana prefers a team championship over any individual award any given day.

And if he could go back the time when his San Beda University (SBU) Red Lion squad lost to the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, 2-1, in the NCAA Season 95 Finals last year, he would trade his MVP plum for the team title in a heartbeat.

“I’ll trade my MVP award for the championship,” Oftana said in Filipino on the “I am a Baller Reload” podcast on Saturday.

“My goal is to really lead San Beda to the championship because we had [too] many doubters then, saying that we’re too young, too small [or that] we can’t do it without [Robert] Bolick, Javee [Mocon], Presbi (Jomari Presbitero) and Jeramer [Cabanag]. That’s what triggered me,” he said.

Oftana, who registered 15.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists during his MVP run that powered SBU to an 18-0 record in the eliminations, said he would have gone off to social media and called out the Red Lion doubters had SBU won the title for the fourth straight year.

“Individual awards be damned! I would have gone off on social media, calling out our doubters had we won. But it didn’t happen. [It’s] God’s plan. Move on and on to the next journey,” he added.

But what does Oftana mean by saying “next journey?” Is he implying that in his final year in NCAA Season 96 he will finally lead San Beda to the Promised Land? Or is he hinting at the 2021 Philippine Basketball Association Rookie Draft?

For the meantime, he is keeping his cards close to his chest.

“I’ll make my decision in January,” said Oftana, who also played for Gilas Pilipinas in the November window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.