UAAP Starting 5: Week 5
The first round of the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament is over, but this doesn’t mean teams get to start over with new slates.
Oh no, the second round is essentially when the UAAP separates the men from the boys and did the men show up in Week 5.
Clue, the biggest man of the week wore red.
Center: Ben Mbala (La Salle Green Archers)
It’s tough to think that reigning MVP Ben Mbala is still the most dominant force in the UAAP since he put up a lackluster, by his standards, performance in La Salle’s 76-75 loss to Ateneo.
Mbala, however, still featured in this list by virtue of sheer numbers—and that practically no center in the league can match up to him one-on-one.
The big man from La Salle averaged 28.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, including a career performance of 39 points against University of the East.
Forward: Alvin Pasaol (UE Red Warriors)
This list relies heavily on numbers, and did Alvin Pasaol bring those digits.
Pasaol became the highest-scoring man in the UAAP this century when he put up a career-high 49 points against the Green Archers and he followed it up with a 32-point outing against University of Santo Tomas.
And Pasaol is also a reliable figure in the glass as he averaged nine rebounds a game this week together with his ridiculous 40.5 points-per-game mark.
Forward: Matt Salem (NU Bulldogs)
Talk about finding your rhythm.
Matt Salem found himself in a four-game slump for National University where he averaged a disastrous 4.5 points a game, and in the Bulldogs’ three-game losing streak the captain put up just 3.8 points.
And when the Bulldogs desperately needed a win, Salem heeded the call and fired 21 points in their 77-70 victory over University of the Philippines.
Guard: Matt Nieto (Ateneo Blue Eagles)
Matt Nieto is clutch. That’s that.
In the first Ateneo-La Salle game of the season, Nieto showed why he’s an invaluable member of the Blue Eagles roster.
If some of the players here in this list got included because of sheer numbers, Nieto became part of this because of sheer fortitude.
It was Nieto who stole the inbound pass of Kib Montalbo in the dying seconds of the rivalry game and it was also him who iced Ateneo’s 76-75 win from the free throw line.
Take a bow Matt. Take a bow.
Guard: Jerie Pingoy (Adamson Soaring Falcons)
Scoring is fine and all, but helping your teammates score is probably a notch more honorable.
And Jerie Pingoy became Adamson’s consummate Soaring Falcon when he recorded this season’s single-game assist mark when he dished out 10 against Far Eastern University.
Oh he also was a reliable scorer for the Falcons this week as he put up an average of 10 points in their two games this week.
Philip Manalang (UE Red Warriors)
Pasaol is UE’s Batman, and Philip Manalang is the Red Warriors’ reliable Robin.
Manalang did not put up as gaudy numbers as his heftier teammate, but he did put up an average of 17 points in the two games UE played this week.
Jerrick Ahanmisi (Adamson Soaring Falcons)
If you’re wondering who benefited the most from Pingoy’s passing, then it would be Jerrick Ahanmisi.
The lanky wingman averaged 19 points a game in the Soaring Falcons’ two victories this week while shooting an even 50 percent from deep.