UAAP men’s basketball starting 5: Week 4
(The Inquirer Sports’ Starting 5 weekly ranking is based on the players’ individual numbers and their respective team’s outcomes during the competition week.)
Every team has tasted the sweet nectar of victory while also consuming the bitter soup of defeat.
Ateneo found itself tied atop the standings when Adamson University finally lost in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament.
Far Eastern University notched its first string of back-to-back wins, De La Salle got lambasted in its rivalry game against the Blue Eagles, and star forward Alvin Pasaol continued to dazzle for University of the East.
The first round’s about to draw to a close, but before that happens here are some delectable rankings.
Angelo Kouame (Ateneo de Manila University, center)
There’s no doubt that Angelo Kouame has emerged as one of Ateneo’s most vital stars this season.
The 6-foot-10 Kouame isn’t just a screen-setter or a mere rebounder for the Blue Eagles, he is the undisputed man in the middle for the defending champions.
Kouame followed up his impressive Week 3 performance, where he averaged 14 points and 15 rebounds, with a master class in his first Ateneo-La Salle in the UAAP in the Blue Eagles’ 71-55 win.
Kouame’s towering presence punished the Green Archers with 20 points, on 7-of-10 shooting, 13 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks.
Bright Akhuetie (University of the Philippines, center)
University of the Philippines had just one game in Week 4 and Bright Akhuetie’s brilliance was once again in full display.
Akhuetie was a force for the Fighting Maroons as he led the charge in their close 89-88 win over National University on Sunday.
The 6-foot-8 center pulled off another 20-20 line of 21 points and 20 rebounds while also shooting 7-of-10 from the free throw line in game where the Fighting Maroons shot just 11-of-30 from the stripe.
CJ Cansino (University of Santo Tomas, small forward)
Someone transitioning from the juniors to the seniors division of the UAAP is always seen under a microscope but University of Santo Tomas’ CJ Cansino has turned that illuminator into his personal spotlight.
The Growling Tigers’ youngster has distanced himself from the other eight rookies in UST’s rotation becoming a bona fide star for the black-and-gold.
Cansino was limited to just seven points and four rebounds in UST’s 99-72 loss to De La Salle but that was due to the Green Archers’ defensive focus on him and head coach Louie Gonzalez said it himself.
Against UE, however, Cansino was a predator on the loose putting up 17 points, grabbing 17 rebounds, and dishing out four assists to lead the Tigers to an 80-66 win.
Wendell Comboy (Far Eastern University, shooting guard)
Need anyone to be the team’s best scorer while being his team’s leading wing threat? Then, Wendell Comboy has that covered.
Comboy showed his defensive and offensive prowess in FEU’s 73-68 win over NU when he put up 18 points and dished out three assists while keeping tabs on Dave Ildefonso.
NU’s rookie still managed to put up 11 points but went just 4-of-11 from the field.
Comboy was at it again in the Tamaraws’ 88-85 overtime win over the Soaring Falcons when he notched up 14 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three blocks.
Prior to FEU’s game against Adamson, Comboy had one block the whole season and his third rejection against the Soaring Falcons came in the final seconds of overtime when he denied Sean Manganti’s attempt that could tied the game at 88.
Aljun Melecio (De La Salle University, shooting guard)
De La Salle was a polarizing figure this past week.
The Green Archers first laid waste to UST with a 99-72 win but got shell-shocked by Ateneo, 71-55.
In spite of those contrasting games, there was one constant and that was the diminutive Aljun Melecio.
La Salle’s spitfire guard had 19 points and eight rebounds against the Growling Tigers and followed that up with 21 points and seven rebounds as he carried the Green Archers against the Blue Eagles.
Alvin Pasaol (University of the East, power forward)
University of the East is still in the bottom of the standings with a 1-5 record but in the middle of that darkness is a beacon of light that has indisputably made the Red Warriors must-watch television.
The Red Warriors only had one game this week and Pasaol showed once more he’s an unstoppable force of offensive energy.
Pasaol, who once put up 49 points in Season 80 against the defense of Ben Mbala and La Salle, had 32 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in UE’s 80-66 loss to the Growling Tigers.
What made Pasaol’s efforts even more remarkable was that his nine field goals were just one shy of the combined mark of his team.
Juan Gomez De Liaño (University of the Philippines, guard)
Juan Gomez De Liaño’s performance in UP’s 89-88 win over the Bulldogs was still an impressive sight to behold.
The second-year guard racked up 20 points, seven rebounds, and six assists but there was one more mark that left a big imprint on his relegation from the starting five to the honorable mentions.
Gomez De Liaño made just one free throw in six attempts in a game that UP badly needed those to fall.
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