UAAP Starting 5: Weeks 1 and 2
Get ready for pandemonium as the UAAP basketball season has begun.
No collegiate league in the country generates as much hype as the UAAP and nothing stirs conversations and debates than players’ rankings.
With that said, here are the best players for each position in the first two weeks of competition. And sticking to Inquirer’s seven-bulleted list articles there would be two more names included in this piece and those couple of players are the honorable mentions.
Players are considered based on their numbers and win-loss records are also factored in.
Enough chitchat, let’s start some arguments.
Center: Steve Akomo (University of Santo Tomas)
Hey look, it’s a player from the University of Santo Tomas, which remained winless after two games.
Never mind that the Growling Tigers looked more like house cats than large predators, but Steve Akomo has shown glimpses that he can become a force in the middle in the UAAP.
The 6-foot-8 Akomo has displayed tremendous upside as he averaged 12.5 points, 14.5 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks to become UST’s most consistent player despite its disappointing start to the season.
Forward: Santi Santillan (De La Salle University)
The reigning champion De La Salle have started off marvelously in its title defense going 2-0 with wins over Far Eastern University and National University despite the absence of reigning MVP Ben Mbala.
Santi Santillan, with all his length, has become a disruptor in the paint for the Green Archers.
He may not have the same bulk as teammates Mbala, Abu Tratter, and Prince Rivero but Santillan makes up for it with his smooth game and the aforementioned length to average 11 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 4.0 offensive rebounds.
Against NU, Santillan had one of the better games of any individual this season when he put up 13 points and 16 boards.
Forward: Thirdy Ravena (Ateneo de Manila University)
He may be called Thirdy but Thirdy Ravena has played like he’s the No. 1 in his position this season.
After an up-and-down performance last year, Ravena has been Ateneo’s most consistent player so far this season and his steady contributions helped the Blue Eagles grab the early lead in the standings at 3-0.
Ravena is averaging 18 points, nine rebounds, and 2.3 assists this season.
Guard: Paul Desiderio (University of the Philippines)
Unlike Ravena, Paul Desiderio hasn’t been steady.
But when the Fighting Maroons needed the big shots, Desiderio wasn’t shy to throw the haymakers.
Desiderio took out the heart out of University of Santo Tomas in UP’s opener and he then proceeded to suck the soul out of University of the East for the Fighting Maroons’ second win.
The UP skipper was 1-of-10 from deep before he hit the game-winning triple against UST to push the Fighting Maroons to the 74-73 win.
He then outscored the whole Red Warriors team, 16-7, in the third quarter in UP’s 84-71 win en route to a career-best 28 points.
Guard: Aljun Melecio (De La Salle University)
Aljun Melecio has been La Salle’s diminutive dynamite averaging 24.5 points, 5.0 assists, and 2.5 steals.
La Salle employs head coach Aldin Ayo’s Mayhem system and it always starts with the point guard hounding the opposing team’s ball handler.
Melecio is capable of starting the team’s defensive scheme and he’s also at ease with finishing his team’s possessions.
Ron Dennison (Far Eastern University)
Ron Dennison was mainly used as a defensive stopper in Season 79, but in Season 80 he’s become FEU’s full-fledged main offensive option.
The fifth-year guard averaged 15 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists during the stretch but his team’s 1-2 record has put a damper on his personal numbers.
Ricci Rivero (De La Salle University)
Another honorable mention is La Salle’s Ricci Rivero.
The sophomore Green Archer got in this list after his 21-point outburst against NU, a game that La Salle won, 115-109.