The numbers that make La Salle's Kevin Quiambao the runaway favorite for UAAP 86 MVP

Kevin Quiambao credits all the time he's spent in the gym this season as a key to his success. UAAP Media Bureau

Two triple-doubles -- 17 points, 14 assists, and 11 rebounds then another 17points, 19 boards, and 12 dimes -- in one season, the first time that has happened in the UAAP's Final Four era.

Per game averages of 16.9 points, 11.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 2.0 steals, and in the top three of all those four categories.

After just the first round, 84.714 Statistical Points (SPs) -- already six SPs better than his closest competitor -- and on pace to become the first local MVP in eight years.

The numbers paint De La Salle University's Kevin Quiambao as the hands down best individual player in the UAAP -- and perhaps, even all of college.

All these numbers, however, won't be possible if not for these two: 93 kilograms and 12 hours.

The 6-foot-7 modern big now weighs in at a slim 93 kilograms, still capable of pulling his weight down low, but also newly confident of making an impact from the perimeter.

"Sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam na yung mga 'di ko nagagawa dati, nagagawa ko na ngayon," Quiambao said.

Before trimming down this season, Quiambao weighed 103 kilograms and said he patterned his play after Nikola Jokic -- with all the NBA champion and MVP's ground-bound brilliance.

That was very much evident from his time in Gilas Pilipinas when he impressed with averages of 6.0 points, 4.2 assists, and 3.5 rebounds as a backup big, as well as his Rookie of the Year run last season for the Green Archers.

After missing out on the Final Four in his UAAP Seniors debut, though, the 22-year-old realized he had to adjust his placing and positioning. This would allow La Salle to amplify him with its strength: An enviable rotation of skilled bigs that also includes Mike Phillips, Jonnel Policarpio, Raven Cortez, and Bright Nwankwo.

"Actually, ang talagang nagprangka sa'kin, nasa Gilas pa ako nun, si (assistant) coach Nenad [Vucinic]. Sabi niya, kung ganyan lagi weight mo, 'di ka makakalaro sa highest level," he said. "Talagang pina-realize niya sa'king kailangan ko pa maging fit, healthy, and body-ready."

With that realization and ensuing commitment, Quiambao got into the best shape of his life. And with that, coach Topex Robinson now has the luxury of putting him at the 3, while the Green Archers' other bigs can take care of the 4 and 5.

"Yung first step naman talaga yung pinakamahirap. Siyempre, kinailangan ko talaga mag-adjust. Buti, kinakitaan din ako ni coach Migs [Aytona] ng potential na maging gym rat," he shared. "Yung progress, inaraw-araw ko lang hanggang naadik na ako sa process."

Good thing then that with first-year head coach Robinson came Aytona, a well-known strength and conditioning coach who has worked with Thirdy Ravena, Robert Bolick, and Gomez de Liaño brothers Javi and Juan.

Under Aytona, as well as fellow strength and conditioning coach Gelo Vito and dietitians from TimNutrition, the MVP frontrunner started spending half of everyday training. He built up his body while sharpening his skills through team practices and extra work.

Quiambao wakes up at 6 a.m. Lifts weights and does shooting drills from 7-10 a.m. before going to class for the next two hours. After having lunch, he returns to La Salle's training facility where he stays until 7 p.m.

So addicted is he now with working out that after a so-so performance -- for him, mind you -- of 13 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists in La Salle's seventh straight win, he went to the gym.

"May buhat pa ako. Bilisan natin," he told ESPN once he got dressed post-game, with Aytona and Vito already in tow.

And off the Green Archers main man went for another training session and another investment for the future.

A future that will likely include his first UAAP Seniors playoffs and could see him crowned the first local MVP since Kiefer Ravena.

"For me, tinake ko lang one day at a time. Nakakaadik mag-gym, na makita yung potential mo, na makita mo yung resulta ng pinaghirapan mo," he exclaimed. "Pero for me, kailangan ko lang taasan pa. 'Di pwedeng makuntento kung nasan na ako."

Even more, it's a future that could Quiambao playing his way out of La Salle and into international leagues as he has become more than good enough to be an Asian quota import. Before that, though, he hopes to bring back the MVP trophy last hoisted by a Green Archer in 2017 with Ben Mbala. More importantly he seeks a title that Taft Avenue last celebrated in 2016.

"For me, gusto ko lang naman mag-champion yung team. Yung masali ako sa MVP conversation, sobrang na-overwhelm ako, pero bigger goal yung gusto ko. Gusto ko mag-champion," he said