UAAP Starting 5: Week 10 | Inquirer Sports

UAAP Starting 5: Week 10

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 10:02 PM November 13, 2017

The Final Four is complete with Ateneo, De La Salle, Adamson University, and Far Eastern University heading to the playoffs.

That, however, wasn’t the only thing to happen at the end of the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament. 

Ateneo suffered its first defeat after going undefeated in its first 13 outings while University of Santo Tomas finally won a game after a 0-13 start.


And with all that out of the way, here are the top players by position in the final week of eliminations.


Center: Ben Mbala (De La Salle Green Archers)

Ben Mbala. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

Big Ben Mbala exacted revenge on Ateneo in the final game of the elimination and he did it the only way a Ben Mbala does and that was to dominate.


With a second straight MVP in the bag, the La Salle center went crazy and dismantled Ateneo in every statistical category.

Mbala registered 28 points, 19 rebounds, six steals, six blocks, and a big defensive stop down the stretch to preserve the Green Archers 79-76 win over the Blue Eagles.

Forward: Arvin Tolentino (Far Eastern University Tamaraws)

Arvin Tolentino. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

Arvin Tolentino has often been an unassuming player, to the point of being lackadaisical that his head coach Olsen Racela repeatedly challenged him to give more effort. 

Well Tolentino may be lackadaisical, but his numbers aren’t.

In the two games Far Eastern University played this week, Tolentino was the unquestioned offensive focal point as he averaged 17.5 points and a respectable 7.5 rebounds.

Forward: J-Jay Alejandro (National University Bulldogs)

Jay Alejandro. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

J-Jay Alejandro played his last two games in the UAAP, and walked off the collegiate league leaving stellar numbers.

NU’s heart and soul did what he does best in his final week with the Bulldogs and that is by filling up the stat sheets. 

Alejandro averaged 16.5 points, five rebounds, three offensive rebounds, and 8.5 assists on his way out of NU.

Paul Desiderio (University of the Philippines) 

Paul Desiderio. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

Paul Desiderio likes to score, and that statement is indisputable.

And he did that in UP’s last week in Season 80.

Desiderio matched his career-high of 30 points on Saturday when he lit NU up in the Fighting Maroons’ 106-81 win.

And for his weekly average, Desiderio scored 23 points a game.

Guard: Juan Gomez de Liaño

Juan Gomez de Liaño. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

Desiderio isn’t the only one who likes to score for the Fighting Maroons.

Rookie Juan Gomez de Liaño does too.

In the two games UP played this week, Gomez de Liaño breached 20 points twice and averaged 21.5 points with 9.5 rebounds.

Honorable mentions

Steve Akomo (University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers)

Steve Akomo. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

University of Santo Tomas won its lone game of Season 80 thanks in large part to its starting big man.

Steve Akomo is the owner of this year’s highest single-game rebounding total of 20 boards, and he did that once more in UST’s 88-85 win over University of the East while also scoring 18 points and blocking six shots.

And Akomo’s mark of six blocks is tied with Mbala and Issa Gaye’s record for most in one game. 

Ricci Rivero (De La Salle Green Archers)

Ricci Rivero. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

It seems La Salle has settled with Ricci Rivero as its secondary offensive option.

And although Mbala’s 20 field goal attempts against Ateneo were almost 30 percent of La Salle’s total output, Rivero still had plenty for him as he put up 13 and making seven of those. 

Rivero also got to the line for his fair share of charities as he went 5-of-7 from the stripe. 

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Overall, Rivero finished with 21 points, five rebounds, and two steals.

TAGS: Arvin Tolentino, Ben Mbala, Jay Alejandro, Juan Gomez di Liaño, Paul Desiderio, Ricci Rivero, Starting Five, Steve Akomo, UAAP Season 80

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