PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — Chris Bitoon of Jumbo Plastic-Basilan was hailed as the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup Mindanao Leg Finals MVP, Monday night.
In the championship-clinching Game Two, Bitoon stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, eight assists, three rebounds, and three steals. He was also a plus-16 in 20 minutes off the bench to lead the Peace Riders to an 89-70 victory and the Mindanao title.
Back in Game One, he got the Manok ng Bayan award after topscoring for the Peace Riders with 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting, to go with four assists and two steals.
But before even playing in the league, the 5-foot-8 marksman was selected in the third round of the 2019 PBA draft by then-Blackwater Elite.
However, he was not picked up Blackwater.
For Bitoon, all of that was in the past. He’s just grateful for the blessing he’s getting – all amidst a pandemic.
“Sobrang saya na during pandemic nakakapaglaro kami ‘di ba? This is priceless na makapaglaro tapos nag Finals MVP pa,” said the former St. Clare standout.
Making it much sweeter, he is representing Basilan, his hometown.
“Sobrang saya na mai-represent ‘yung sarili mong province.
“Nagpapasalamat lang ako kay Coach Jerson na nagtiwala siya sa akin dito,” he added.
But the job is not yet done, and Bitoon is fully aware of it.
His Peace Riders will collide with Visayas titlist KCS-Mandaue in a best-of-five series starting Wednesday.
“Eenjoyin muna namin itong championship pero syempre, hindi mawawala sa isip namin ‘yung Southern Finals. Focused pa rin kami doon.”
“I’m just very proud of Chris kasi ‘yung sacrifices niya grabe. May newly-born baby siya, nagkasakit pa but still nandito pa rin siya performing, naglalaro pa rin siya ng 100 percent at buong puso.”