UAAP Starting 5: Week 3 | Inquirer Sports

UAAP Starting 5: Week 3

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 04:48 PM September 25, 2017

It had been quite a whirlwind week in the UAAP.

Reigning MVP Ben Mbala returned like he never left and University of the Philippines showed it’s a force to reckon with after taking down defending champion De La Salle in a game that saw the Fighting Maroons hit a record-setting 16 3-pointers.

READ: UAAP Starting 5: Weeks 1 and 2


Center: Ben Mbala (La Salle Green Archers) 

Ben Mbala. Photo By Tristan Tamayo/

After representing Cameroon in the 2017 Fiba Afrobasket, the MVP returned in style.

Mbala averaged 33 points and 11 rebounds and although La Salle split its first two games with the menacing big man back, there was no better center in the league than him.

Forward: Arvin Tolentino (Far Eastern University)


Arvin Tolentino. Photo By Tristan Tamayo/

Rebounding and defense isn’t exactly Arvin Tolentino’s strong suit, yet he delivered when Far Eastern University needed a presence in the middle.

Prince Orizu played on and off for the Tamaraws against University of Santo Tomas due to illness and Tolentino took it upon himself to provide the muscle. 


Tolentino put up season-highs in scoring and rebounding to lead the Tamaraws over the Growling Tigers with 15 points and 10 boards.

In the three games prior to FEU’s match against UST, Tolentino only averaged exactly five boards a game and 9.6 points.

Forward: Thirdy Ravena (Ateneo Blue Eagles)

Thirdy Ravena. Photo By Tristan Tamayo/

Ateneo had just one game the past week, but boy did Thirdy Ravena make it worth watching.

Ateneo currently owns the best record in the league with a 4-0 slate and it’s largely because of Ravena’s strong play.

The senior wingman led the Blue Eagles in their 83-65 rout of University of the East with 21 points, on an efficient 7-of-12 shooting, while grabbing eight rebounds.

Guard: Paul Desiderio (UP Fighting Maroons)

Paul Desiderio. Photo By Tristan Tamayo/

The legend of Paul Desiderio continues to grow.

Desiderio was hell-bent on toppling the Green Archers and he did that by pouring in a career performance that made him Diliman’s most beloved person in a jersey.

The senior guard unleashed 16 third-quarter points to post a career-high 30 and all the while keeping a straight face as La Salle searched for a way to stop him. 

Guard: Jun Manzo (UP Fighting Maroons)

Jun Manzo. Photo By Tristan Tamayo/

Desiderio wasn’t the lone Maroon, who posed problems for the Green Archers. 

After Desiderio lit up in the third quarter, Jun Manzo took his turn to finish La Salle off.

Manzo had nine of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, scoring late buckets that kept the Green Archers down for the count. 

Honorable mentions:

Ron Dennison (Far Eastern University)

Ron Dennison. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

There’s a dilemma concerning Ron Dennison. 

As good as he is for FEU, he plays the same position as Ravena and that’s a tough competition to win considering that Ateneo has also remained undefeated. 

Still, Dennison is on a class of his own and his 15 points plus his defensive leadership against UST puts him on this seven-man list.

Papi Sarr (Adamson Falcons) 

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Papi Sarr. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

Papi Sarr was decent in his first game in Season 80 as he put up 10 points and four rebounds in Adamson’s 88-81 win over UST, but it was in his past two games the 6-foot-8 big man showed his quality.

The Adamson center, who is still trying to regain top form after suffering a groin injury before the season started, averaged 15.5 points and 14.5 rebounds against La Salle and National University. 

TAGS: Arvin Tolentino, Ben Mbala, Jun Manzo, Papi Sarr, Paul Desiderio, Ron Dennison, Starting 5, Thirdy Ravena, UAAP, UAAP Season 80

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