Yesterday, we revealed the guys who just missed out on our top 10 list of UAAP players for Season 78. Honorable mentions went out to UP Fighting Maroons JR Gallarza and Diego Dario, as well as DLSU big man Prince Rivero.
We also showed you #s 10 and 9 of our top 10, with UST wing Kevin Ferrer starting off the list, followed by ADMU gunner Von Pessumal.
First, a refresher: We asked our writers at SLAM Online PH, as well as some of our friends on the college beat, to put together a list of their top eight UAAP players. We exempted rookies and transferees, because we want to see them play first. Anyone else on the S78 rosters were fair game.
For each list, we gave eight points to the player ranked number one, seven points to the player ranked number two, and so on. After putting all the numbers into an Excel sheet and tallying them up, we came up with this list.
Got that? And so without further ado, here are our top eight UAAP players entering this season:
Long considered as an underrated floor general, Alolino made a name for himself by leading NU in scoring and assists, and oh yeah, quarterbacking them to a UAAP championship. This season, expect even more from him, following the exit of veterans like Troy Rosario and Glenn Khobuntin. NU might shift to a more perimeter-oriented game with its wing men, or try handing the rock more to Alfred Aroga. Alternately, they can just give the ball to Alolino and let him create. As we’ve seen, this guy certainly has the chops to do that.
He may not be the fastest or the most athletic forward out there, but Jason Perkins has an engine that doesn’t quit. He’ll battle for rebounds, and then on the other end, flash his inside-out game that makes him so tricky to defend. With DLSU’s big men ranks depleted of vets, Perkins will have to take up the primary big man minutes this season. We may even see him at center, given the way things have been shaking out.
Once upon a time, FEU’s three-headed guard monster of RR Garcia, Terrence Romeo and Mike Tolomia had the latter in a sixth man role. But before last season, Garcia and Romeo bolted for the pros, leaving Tolomia all alone. He didn’t back down, nor did he disappoint, and in fact flourished in his new #1 role, posting big numbers for the Tams. He’s a steady contributor for FEU, and can only project to do more in his final season.
The veteran foreign big man is now in his final season, and no doubt wants to exit with a championship, after coming close in back-to-back Finals series versus ADMU and DLSU. In Season 77 though, Abdul did himself no favors by calling out his teammates with UST struggling with injuries. This season, with health on their side, Abdul will likely be in a better, more focused mood, which probably means his numbers are going to go up across the board.
The UAAP leader in blocks this past season anchored NU’s league-leading defense, thanks to his ability to snuff out attempt after attempt. Last season, you could sort of cross your fingers and hope he was content to feast off offensive rebounds. Come Season 78 though, with Troy Rosario no longer there, the Bulldogs will likely turn to Aroga for offense as well. We’ll need to see though if that will affect his energy on the other end of the court.
Season after season, Jeron Teng keeps getting better and better. Last season, despite playing with giants like AVO and Norbert Torres, Teng still managed 7.0 rebounds per game, in addition to dishing out a team-best 3.9 assists, most of the time to those aforementioned big men as the defense collapsed on his drives, freeing up his centers for drop passes. He also boosted his FT% up to 76.6 percent, not bad for someone who was the victim of ‘hack-a-Teng’ strategies early on.
This season? The King Archer has been working on his jumper with another former King Archer, Renren Ritualo, spending his pre-FilOil mornings shooting with the renowned sniper. Defenders might find out early on that they can no longer sag off him this season, making him that much more deadly.
You won’t find a more versatile forward right now in the UAAP than Belo. The FEU Tamaraw is a prime two-way player, equally capable on defense as he is on offense, and with regards to the latter, he can hurt teams in so many ways. From posting up, to mid-range J’s, to triples, to driving on his man, Belo can do it all.
At the helm of an FEU team that is expected to reach the Finals at the very least, any sort of improvement to his already stacked game can only make his opponents more terrified of him.
The reigning MVP gets our nod as the best player entering Season 78. And why not? “The Phenom” is more than capable of taking over games and knocking down clutch game-winners. He’s also diversified his game in preparation for the pros, working on his court-vision and passing for the inevitable shift to point guard.
Versus NU in the Final Four last season, Ravena tried to put the team entirely on his back – and the move backfired. But no doubt, that’s only going to fire him up for his final amateur season. Ravena wants one more championship, and if he doesn’t get it, it’s not going to be for lack of anything he’s done.