UAAP: Eka Soriano gives UST another women’s basketball MVP award
MANILA, Philippines — University of Santo Tomas star Eka Soriano raised the UAAP Season 85 women’s basketball MVP on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Soriano was a runaway MVP leader this season, garnering 92.286 statistical points. She was also part of the Mythical team after averaging 14.36 points, 6.29 rebounds, 7.14 assists, and 3.71 steals.
“I didn’t expect to win this. But I’m so proud of myself because I also worked for it and my teammates. We helped each other and our coaches guided us. This is just a bonus for me because our focus was to win a championship,” Soriano said in Filipino.
She became the third straight MVP from UST after Grace Irebu won two in a row in 2018 and 2019 and the first Tigresses’ guard to become the top player since Marichu Bacaro in 2008.
“It’s all because of our system. It’s a testament to how good coach Haydee Ong and our coaches are to win three straight MVPs,” she said.
Soriano lifted UST to an 11-3 finish in the third seed and forced a rubber match against La Salle in the Final Four but still didn’t reach the Finals.
Ateneo’s Kacey Dela Rosa won the rookie of the year after tallying 77.0 statistical points and averaging 16.42 points, and league-bests 14.08 rebounds and 3.08 blocks.
Dela Rosa, a distant MVP runner-up, was also part of the mythical team including her teammate Jhazmin Joson, who finished with 74.714 SPs, Tacky Tacatac of UST (73.429 SPs), and Adamson’s Victoria Adeshina (72.214 SPs).
After winning her first MVP award, Soriano encourages the fans to keep on supporting Philippine women’s basketball, which reached another level in the return of UAAP in this pandemic era.
“I hope women’s basketball gets more exposure. The Philippines has a lot of good players. We’re not just girls, we can also play and achieve what men can do. I hope we get the same attention because we have players, who can also play overseas someday,” Soriano said.
The UST star vows to continue improving as she seeks to deliver a championship to her school, which last won a women’s basketball title in Season 69.
“My goal next year is to win a championship,” Soriano said. “I still have a lot to improve on. We have to improve together as a team. All of us will have to work hard.”
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