Belo named Player of the Year as collegiate hoops’ best converge
Safe to say that no other Filipino collegiate basketball player had a better seven-month stretch than Mac Belo.
Belo, the stoic superstar forward out of Far Eastern University, led the Philippine team to a gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games in June, won a UAAP title and a Finals MVP in December and on Tuesday night was named Smart Player of the Year, the highest honor given by the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps during the Collegiate Basketball Awards at Saisaki-Kamayan restaurant in Greenhills.
The North Cotabato native joined Ateneo’s Kiefer Ravena and La Salle’s Jeron Teng as the only players to win the prestigious award, besting Ravena, Mapua’s Allwell Oraeme, University of Santo Tomas’ Kevin Ferrer and University of Perpetual Help’s Scottie Thompson for the citation.
Sharing the spotlight with Belo were Coach of the Year winners Nash Racela of FEU and Aldin Ayo, formerly of Letran.
Racela steered the Tamaraws to their first UAAP crown in 10 years while Ayo, who is now calling the shots for La Salle, guided the Knights to the top of the NCAA after a decade-long title drought.
Aric del Rosario, who wasn’t able to attend the event, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions as coach of University of Santo Tomas and University of Perpetual Help.
The legendary coach led the Growling Tigers to four straight UAAP championships from 1993 to 1996 then came back to coaching this decade and steered the Altas to three NCAA Final Four appearances before leaving the team after this season.
The awards night also backed by ACCEL Quantum-3XVI, Gatorade, UAAP Season 78 host University of the Philippines, NCAA Season 91 host Mapua, San Miguel Corporation and the Philippine Sports Commission also paid tribute to one of college basketball’s best coaches.
Other awardees were FEU’s Roger Pogoy and Letran’s Kevin Racal (Pivotal Player), San Beda’s Baser Amer, Letran’s Mark Cruz and FEU’s Mike Tolomia (Super Senior), San Beda’s Art dela Cruz and UST’s Ed Daquioag (Impact Player), Arellano’s Jiovanni Jalalon (Accel Court General) and Teng (Gatorade Energy Player).
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