MANILA—Once accused of being too soft and not tough enough to battle the league’s best, American center Sudan Daniel found the perfect response to his critics.
The 6-foot-7 Daniel, the anchor of San Beda’s ferocious defense, emerged as the Most Valuable Player of NCAA Season 86, becoming the second foreigner to capture the honor.
A recruit from Compton Dominguez High School in California, Daniel collected a total of 56.8 MVP points to nip San Sebastian forward Calvin Abueva, who paced the derby after the first round.
With San Beda going 16-0 in the elimination round, Daniel who was also named defensive player of the year got the edge he needed from the won-game points.
Daniel duplicated the feat of Sam Ekwe, the Nigerian, who became the first foreigner to win the award in 2006. Ekwe wound up with two MVP awards in a three-year stint with the Lions that all ended up with championships.
Abueva wound up with 54.6 points to also join Daniel in the mythical five, which includes PBA-bound Borgie Hermida (45.1) and Garvo Lanete (38,8) of San Beda and Adrian Celada of Arellano U (38.4)
“Su (Daniel) has really improved this season,” said San Beda coach Frankie Lim of Daniel, who averaged 10.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.4 blocks.
“He had a big responsibility when Ekwe left and was probably not used to playing here last season. But he has a nice attitude. He works hard.”
San Beda pulled off a double in the top individual awards with point guard Baser Amer, a Zamboanga native playing his last season, collecting the MVP award in the juniors division.
Amer finished the season with averages of 11.7 assists, 15.6 points, 8.3 boards and 2.4 steals to finish with 62.3 MVP points.
The juniors mythical five included San Sebastian’s Gino Juamo-as (61.5), RP Youth standout Joshua Alolino of Perpetual Help (56.5), Cris dela Paz of Jose Rizal (47.1) and Rey Nambatac of Letran (44.8).
St. Benilde’s Carlo Lastimosa bagged the Rookie of the Year plum in the seniors division with Jose Rizal’s Joe Etame collecting the Most Improved Player award.
Nambatac was adjudged the Rookie of the Year in the high school division while Emilio Aguinaldo’s Vincent Menguito and Perpetual Help’s Flash Sadiwa were named Most Defensive Player and Most Improved Player, respectively.
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