UAAP stars CJ Cansino & Evan Nelle declare for 2024 PBA Draft

Will both stars make it into the top 10 of the PBA Draft? (UAAP)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The upcoming Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Rookie Draft will once again be filled with collegiate superstars who will try to embark on a new chapter in the country’s grandest hoops league.

With still a month left before the ceremony takes place on July 14, 2024, two of the biggest UAAP collegiate stars for the past years, CJ Cansino and Evan Nelle, already declared for the draft.

Cansino is currently playing for the Iloilo United Royals in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) after his stint with the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons.

A former UAAP High School Most Valuable Player (MVP) and a champion in the seniors level with the Fighting Maroons, Cansino is expected to become a lottery pick in the drafting ceremony.

After 13 games in, Cansino proved to be one of the most lethal scorers in the MPBL after averaging 15.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per contest.

Despite a roller coaster start to his UAAP career when he made his jump from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) to UP while also getting hobbled by several major injuries, Cansino still found a way for a graceful exit after steering the Fighting Maroons to a championship title three years ago.

Although Cansino failed to repeat as a UAAP champion, he still had a decent collegiate career after making three straight finals appearances.

On the other hand, Nelle, a savvy floor general who was a vital piece to the UAAP title clinched by the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers last 2023 season, took some time off and didn’t sign any contract with another club.

Nelle averaged 11.3 points, 6.9 assists, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game in his UAAP career. He then delivered his promise that he would bring the championship back to DLSU, teaming up with Kevin Quiambao, Mark Nonoy, and Mike Phillips.

Known for his high basketball IQ and tremendous grasp of the game, Nelle is expected to be highly touted by the PBA scouts once the Draft Combine kicks off this July.

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