UAAP Season 81 Starting 5: Week 7
(The Inquirer Sports’ Starting 5 weekly ranking is based on the players’ individual numbers and their respective team’s outcomes during the competition week.)
Hold on to your seats because the Final Four just became a six-team race.
Ateneo and Adamson University are well ahead of the pack as the top two seeds but there are still four more teams vying for the other two spots in the Final Four.
De La Salle has a solid hold on the third spot while University of Santo Tomas emerged from the depths of the standings to take the fourth seed.
Far Eastern University, which finished the first round as one of the top teams, dropped to a tie with University of the Philippines in the fifth spot.
With the team scenarios out of the way, here are the players that made Week 7 a spectacle.
Bright Akhuetie (University of the Philippines, center)
University of the Philippines split its two games this week but nonetheless had a solid performance out of center Bright Akhuetie.
The Fighting Maroons’ big man averaged 22 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks for the week.
It was the usual helping that Akhuetie brought to the floor, muscling his way inside and doing the dirty work teams expect from its big men but the Fighting Maroons have to start digging deep if they hope to get out of their 5-6 card.
Thirdy Ravena (Ateneo de Manila University, forward)
Ateneo is looking more and more like the defending champion that it is and part of that was a perfect two-game swing this past week that put the blue-and-white flag atop the standings with a 9-2 record.
Leading the flight path for the Blue Eagles was Thirdy Ravena who was cruising in his own desired altitude.
Ravena got into some turbulence in Ateneo’s first game of the week, a 90-70 victory over University of the East, finishing with 10 points, five rebounds, and four assists but he got into higher altitude when the Blue Eagles dismantled National University, 79-64.
The fourth-year forward tied his career-high of 23 points while also grabbing 12 rebounds in just 23 minutes of play.
CJ Cansino (University of Santo Tomas, small forward)
Every week seems to have become a witness to just how rookie CJ Cansino can improve as a basketball player.
Cansino looks to have done it all when he put up a 17-point, 17-rebound double-double when UST punished UE 80-66 in the first round but that stat line was a thing of the past for the 20-year-old rookie.
The Growling Tigers’ wunderkind had the first triple-double of a rookie in recent memory when he tallied 20 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists against, surprise surprise, UE in UST’s 79-68 win.
This historic feat earned Cansino the Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Sports Press Corps UAAP Player of the Week plum making him the first player this season to win the award twice.
Jerrick Ahanmisi (Adamson University, shooting guard)
Adamson University had one game this week but it featured a shooting display from Jerrick Ahanmisi that was, well, second to just one person.
Ahanmisi was crucial in Adamson’s 80-72 win over UP that placed the Soaring Falcons at an 8-2 record for the second seed of the tournament.
The third-year guard had 24 points, 16 of which were in the third quarter alone, six rebounds, and three assists.
Ahanmisi’s shooting display was by far one of the best Week 7 had but it was a pass that defined his clutch gene when he assisted Sean Manganti’s dagger three that gored through the Fighting Maroons’ weakened heart.
Marvin Lee (University of Santo Tomas, point guard)
Point guards are usually the ones that make plays for his team and are seldom called on to deliver the points.
Marvin Lee, though, doesn’t play by that assumption and would instead shoot the living daylights out of any defender.
UST’s fourth-year guard lit a fire blaring with a crimson glare brighter than the Red Warriors’ colors when he put up a career-high 30 points on 8-of-18 shooting from deep.
Lee didn’t even bother taking a shot from within the arc and his other six points came from the free throw line.
Angelo Kouame (Ateneo de Manila University, center)
Angelo Kouame’s case for his inclusion into the top players of Week 7 has a similar tone with Akhuetie’s.
Both played within their normal roles and numbers and nothing stood out that much for them.
Nonetheless, Kouame still had an impressive two-game run for the league-leading Blue Eagles.
Kouame averaged 18.5 points, 16.5 rebounds, and 4.5 blocks as Ateneo went 2-0 this week.
Sean Manganti (Adamson University, small forward)
It takes guts to shoot daggers even more so when it’s against just one opponent.
In the four games that Adamson and UP played in Seasons 80 and 81, four wins were recorded under the Soaring Falcons and Sean Manganti was responsible in the biggest ways in all of those.
Manganti drained a couple of buzzer-beating game-winners in the Soaring Falcons’ wins in the two first round matches, the second round meeting between the two in Season 80 didn’t need one as it ended in an 86-70 blowout.
And in the Soaring Falcons’ latest win over the Fighting Maroons, Manganti effectively sent UP’s crumbling heart to drown in the River Styx.
UP had an ill-fought 22-7 run that cut Adamson’s lead to four, 74-70, in the fourth quarter when Manganti decided that the Fighting Maroons had enough fun.
Manganti’s line of 10 points, six rebounds, and three steals, will never pop out of the stat sheet but his soul-decimating three that put Adamson up 77-70 with 1:14 left was a thing of mythical beauty.
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