NCAA Season 93’s Best 7: Week 1
With the collegiate season in full swing, INQUIRER lists the week’s top seven performers in the ongoing NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament. From their game statistics to their overall impact on the outcomes, everything is weighed to come up with the list of the best players from the week that was.
What an opening week it was.
The NCAA Season 93 came out with a bang last Saturday and nine games in, there has been no shortage of action inside and outside of the hard court—from San Sebastian’s feisty challenge against San Beda and stunning upset of the defending champions courtesy of Lyceum to the forfeiture of Perpetual’s win against St. Benilde.
But the stars of the tournament will always be the players, and these seven made sure they made their mark this early in the season, which could be the harbinger of things to come.
Without further ado, this is the first installment of INQUIRER’s top seven players this NCAA Season 93.
1. CJ Perez – F, Lyceum Pirates
23.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals
Talk about backing up the hype.
Three years removed from his last game in the league, the 23-year-old made sure that everyone still remembers the name CJ Perez.
He torched Jose Rizal University in the Pirates’ dominating 96-75 season-opening win before leading his crew to a 96-91 shocker over defending champions San Beda.
Leading a hungry Lyceum squad to a 2-0 start to open the season, Perez has undoubtedly made his case as the go-to guy this season.
It won’t surprise us if he stays at the top of our list in the weeks to come.
2. Hamadou Laminou – C, EAC Generals
21 points (9/14 FG), 13 rebounds, 7 blocks
With the departures of Bright Akhuetie and Allwell Oraeme from the NCAA landscape, the door is open for the other foreign players to stake their claim to the throne.
And the one to heed the call first? EAC big man Hamadou Laminou.
The Cameroonian center, who wasn’t really supposed to suit up for the first two weeks of the season, showed no signs of rust as he imposed his presence in the team’s 74-64 win over St. Benilde.
That came even if he just recently recovered from an MCL team on his left knee he suffered in the preseason.
Laminou is definitely going to be one of the leaders for the Generals this year, together with Sidney Onwubere and Francis Munsayac.
But if he keeps his stellar showing for EAC’s ensuing games, he may just figure himself in the thick of the MVP race late in the season.
3. Robert Bolick – G, San Beda Red Lions
18.0 points (62% 3PT), 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists
Arguably one of the best two-way players in the amateur ranks today, Robert Bolick has taken the leadership role for San Beda by the horns.
Showing his poise in the end game, the senior playmaker orchestrated the Red Lions’ 76-67 win over San Sebastian in opening day.
However, his brilliance was halted in San Beda’s 96-91 defeat to Lyceum, with the Pirates continuously hounding him late.
One thing’s for sure, though, Bolick, together with the rest of the Red Lions, won’t let this slide continue even if its still early in the season.
4. Andoy Estrella – G, Mapua Cardinals
18.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 6.5 turnovers
Nobody gave Mapua a chance this year after the departure of its top two players in Oraeme and Darell Menina.
But Andoy Estrella made sure that the Cardinals won’t be pushovers, delivering the goods for the team in their first two games of the season.
The senior’s biggest moment of the week came at the expense of Letran, as he drilled the huge step-back three-pointer, his lone of the matchup, with 5.0 seconds to spare, lifting Mapua to a gutsy 78-75 victory.
As feel good as the story is, Estrella must find a way to trim down his turnovers as he averaged 6.5 miscues in the two games he played in this week.
5. Michael Calisaan – F, San Sebastian Golden Stags
12.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist
Spotlight on San Sebastian may be hogged by its myriad of guards namely RK Ilagan, Ryan Costelo, or Renzo Navarro.
But the gear that makes the Golden Stags work is no less than Michael Calisaan.
With his backcourt working the offensive end, the senior forward has finally found his niche in coach Egay Macaraya’s system, doing the dirty work down low for the undersized San Sebastian squad.
A lot is expected of the Golden Stags this season, and Calisaan has shown this early his willingness to step up to the plate, notably racking a double-double in their 65-56 win over Arellano despite playing through foul trouble late.
Question is will he be able to churn the same numbers once San Sebastian encounters bigger teams in the future.
6. Tey Teodoro – G, JRU Heavy Bombers
19.5 points (36% 3PT), 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists
Disappointed from his showing in JRU’s season-opening defeat to Lyceum, Tey Teodoro redeemed himself and fired a season-best 26 points in the team’s 68-54 victory over Perpetual.
The ace sharp-shooter is still as deadly as ever, and the Heavy Bombers’ rise will largely hinge on the 23-year-old’s excellence on the floor.
However, that doesn’t just boil down on his scoring, as coach Vergel Meneses challenged Teodoro to embrace a bigger leadership role and be distributor for his team.
His showing from the first two games seems promising, but it’s now up to the rest of his teammates to deliver once Teodoro entrusts them with the rock.
7. Kent Salado – G, Arellano Chiefs
19.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.5 steals
Jio Jalalon who?
Arellano is still a force to be reckoned with, now with Kent Salado doing the driving.
The speedy playmaker delivered the goods in the opening weekend, towing the Chiefs to a 91-82 win over Mapua with his do-it-all effort.
Unfortunately, playing in Arellano’s homecourt didn’t really give them much advantage as Salado suffered cramps in the fourth quarter and was unable to finish the game against San Sebastian, which ended up in a loss.
Expect a huge bounce back game for the new lead Chief in the coming games.
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