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Cade Flores eyes Rookie of the Year crown to invalidate RSJ Game snub

Cade Flores didn’t hide his disappointment after being snubbed in the Rookies-Sophomores-Juniors Game of the PBA All-Star Bacolod 2024.

The NorthPort neophyte said that he felt disrespected with the non-inclusion to the showcase among the league’s up-and-comers in the March 23-24 festivities, considering that he’s among the Rookie of the Year frontrunners.

“I was mad just because I felt like I was disrespected,” he said moments after the Batang Pier’s 112-104 overtime win over Converge at the SMART Araneta Coliseum, Sunday night. “You know me, I play with my heart on the court.

“I play hard defense. I’m always, like, gritty in a way that I just have, like, a lot of passion. But when I saw that I didn’t get selected, I was just like, ‘Ridiculous.'”

Flores, at one point, was no. 1 in the RotY statistical points (SPs) race before being overtaken by 2023 top overall pick Stephen Holt of Terrafirma.

After the Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup, the former Arellano ranked second in the race with 22.4 SPs.

He had per-game averages of 8.6 points on 55.4-percent shooting from the field, 6.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.3 steals.

“It’s gotta be a popularity thing,” Flores offered. “I’m not really big on social media, right? If it’s based on stats, damn, well, I should be in there, like, I’m… what was that, second-leading in the race or something?

“I was first for like half the season and then I got to second after Stephen Holt,” he added.

“Yeah. Little disrespectful, but, I mean, it is what it is.”

Flores was actually among the four players voted in by the media for the RSJ Game, with the men and women covering the PBA beat now included by the league in the selection process of the said event and the All-Star Game as well.

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The other three voted in by the media were Phoenix forward Ken Tuffin, another Batang Pier in Joshua Munzon, and TNT guard Kim Aurin.

However, the 25-year-old bruiser didn’t make it in the final 24-man list issued by the league – a list led by top vote-getters Keith Zaldivar and Jerrick Ahanmisi.

Flores did not know anything about the voting results until his good pals and former teammates informed him, with all of them left surprised.

“I didn’t even find out myself. Everybody… when it came out, I was just in my condo, and I’m literally playing PlayStation,” he shared.

“And then, like, five of my mates from Australia, and then some teammates here from Converge and Phoenix, they were like, ‘Cade, you didn’t even make the All-Star lineup!’ and I was like, ‘Freaking hell!'”

That’s why Flores is determined to bag home Rookie of the Year honors to prove that he did not deserve to be left out.

“I’m not gonna complain about it. I wanna show ’em what I got during this conference. We’ll see who really got snubbed if I win the Rookie of the Year. That’s what I’m aiming for,” he said with a smile.

It’s his motivation to perform in the season-ending conference and he seemingly came out with a statement game against the FiberXers.

Flores finished with a double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds to help the comeback from 18 down.

But it’s really the trash talk he got from Justin Arana and Alec Stockton – both of whom he’s known since college – that lit the fire within him.

#ReadMore  NorthPort lifts Ginebra to PBA PH Cup playoff vs Phoenix

“Was that a statement game? Uhhh, kind of. I was getting heated because Alec and Justin were, like, talking a little bit on the court to me,” said Flores of the Converge tandem, which is set to participate in the RSJ Game.

“And I was just like, ‘Shut up, man,’ I’m gonna show you something right now,” he added.

“It’s all just fun and games. I love those guys there. Good mates of mine.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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