UAAP Starting 5: Week 8
It’s the tail end of the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament, and frankly that’s about it.
The standings have remained pretty much the same the week prior with Ateneo and La Salle still at the top two spots and Adamson U sitting comfortably at third with its closest pursuers two games behind.
The action is in the fourth place battle with University of the Philippines and Far Eastern U locked in heated race and National University relying on other teams to lose if it hopes to get to the semifinals.
And with that said, here are the best players, by position, this week.
Center: Ben Mbala (De La Salle Green Archers)
The king is back and he brought back the same form that made him the UAAP’s most formidable force.
After a lackluster week prior to this one, Ben Mbala wreaked havoc like no one other than himself can.
The reigning MVP put up 21 points and 12.5 rebounds to lead La Salle to two wins this week.
Forward: Alvin Pasaol (University of the East Red Warriors)
Although Alvin Pasaol was limited to a season-low eight points against Ateneo, Pasaol still averaged a respectable 15.5 points in the two games this week while averaging eight rebounds.
Oh, and Pasaol’s struggles on the field against the Blue Eagles was the product of pure defense Ateneo employed on him.
Plus, Pasaol’s 23 points against La Salle were scored with Mbala playing as his main defender.
Forward: Thirdy Ravena (Ateneo Blue Eagles)
It’s a fact that Thirdy Ravena can straight up ball—and not just on the offense.
Ravena was a major factor why Pasaol put up his worst offensive output this season, hounding UE’s star pretty much the whole way with Vince Tolentino helping in the flanks.
And Ravena put up an efficient 17-point, eight-rebound, four-assist afternoon while shooting 67 percent from the field in 19 minutes of play.
Guard: Jerrick Ahanmisi (Adamson University Falcons)
If there’s one thing that stands out in Jerrick Ahanmisi’s game, it’s putting the ball through the hoop.
In Adamson’s calculated approach to the game where every single player has a role, Ahanmisi was blessed with the task to shoot.
The lanky wingman averaged 18.5 points per game and that’s pretty much it as the other statistical categories belong to his teammates.
Guard: Paul Desiderio (University of the Philippines)
Paul Desiderio does not give a (expletive) about field goal percentage, and in an all-important game against Far Eastern University the UP senior showed why.
UP had to win their game against FEU on Saturday to barge into the fourth spot and Desiderio didn’t let his disastrous 5-of-22 clip deter him from taking the game-winning shot.
With the scores tied at 56-56 and the ball in his hands with 6.2 seconds left, Desiderio looked down his good friend Ron Dennison in the eyes, dribbled to the left wing and shot the game-winning triple the basketball gods bestowed upon him.
And as UP head coach Bo Perasol said, in this is better in Filipino, “may kakapalan talaga” and for all you English snobs out there it roughly translates to “the guy’s got balls.”
Ricci Rivero (De La Salle Green Archers)
As Ben Mbala returned to form, Ricci Rivero promptly took the backseat.
Rivero, though, still produced more than respectable numbers of 14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, three assists, and three steals in La Salle’s two wins this week.
Marvin Lee (University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers)
Alright, forget wins for a second because Marvin Lee looked like the lone Growling Tiger from University of Santo Tomas who put up a fight.
Lee was awfully quiet in UST’s 75-70 loss to Adamson as Growling Tigers head coach Boy Sablan preferred to have Oliver De Guzman as the main point guard.
Against La Salle, however, Lee felt the pressure of an impending 0-14 season that he singlehandedly dogged a UST fight despite losing by 35, 94-59.
Lee scored a game-high 25 points, on 10-of-20 shooting, while grabbing seven rebounds.
Those numbers, though, doesn’t hold justice to Lee’s efforts since the UST captain visibly tried to hold his emotions when the final buzzer sounded.