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MANILA, Philippines – Every week, Rappler will release a column dedicated to bringing UAAP basketball fans the leaders of the league’s Most Valuable Player of the Year award race.
Using the official formula created by the UAAP to determine its MVP, Rappler will compute the statistics of the tournament’s top players on a weekly basis to determine which crop of stars are separating themselves from the rest of the cast.
(Note: This list was conducted by Rappler and by no means is the official tally of the UAAP.)
1. Kiefer Ravena, Ateneo Blue Eagles (Last week: #1)
After a stellar first two weeks to the season, Ravena took a step back on Saturday, July 26, scoring 13 points on 3-of-20 from the field as his Blue Eagles suffered their first loss at the hands of the National University Bulldogs.
Nonetheless, “The Phenom” is still above the rest of the league in the MVP race with a huge lead, which goes to show how dominant he was in his first three outings. For the season he’s averaging 20.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4.0 APG and 1.8 SPG.
2. Mark Belo, FEU Tamaraws (Last week: tied for #7 and #8)
Other than being a top choice for the UAAP’s Most Improved Player of the Year award right now, Belo has also ascended to the number two spot of the MVP race.
This past week, the Tamaraws earned an easy win against the UP Fighting Maroons and held off the UE Red Warriors. Belo had a huge role in both games, with his season averages now up to 18.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 2.0 APG. But more importantly, FEU is now tied for second place in the league standings with a 3-1 win-loss clip.
3. Arvin Tolentino, Ateneo Blue Eagles (Last week: #2)
In Ateneo’s lone game this past week, the runaway Rookie of the Year candidate had another stellar performance with 17 points and 9 rebounds. But due to Belo’s superb play, the former San Beda Red Cub fell one spot down in the MVP race.
However, four games in, Tolentino has proven he is even better than most of his supporters thought he would be entering the season. That’s something Blue Eagles head coach Bo Perasol is surely glad about.
4. Jeron Teng, DLSU Green Archers (Last week: not ranked)
Last year’s UAAP Finals MVP makes his first appearance in the MVP race after a stellar performance against the UE Red Warriors last Sunday, July 27, in which Teng put up 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists while willing his team to victory in the fourth period.
With a relatively easy schedule remaining for La Salle, the Green Archers could have a winning streak heading into the second round.
5. Mike Tolomia, FEU Tamaraws (Last week: #10)
Thanks to his team’s two-game winning streak, Tolomia’s ranking in the MVP race increased by five spots.
This season the club’s new perimeter star is averaging 17.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 3.8 APG, making up for the absence of Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia. Though his 4.8 TOPG clip is something he needs to work on, there’s no doubt Tolomia has taken his game to a higher level in Season 77.
6. Jeth Rosario, NU Bulldogs (Last week: not ranked)
After barely missing out on last week’s top 10 list, Jeth Rosario of National U makes his debut in the MVP race. The biggest surprise of the season for the Bulldogs, Rosario is leading the team in scoring with 12.4 PPG and is also pulling down 8.4 RPG.
His play has been critical in the rise of NU, which presently leads the league standings with a 4-1 record.
7. Karim Abdul, UST Growling Tigers (Last week: tied for #7 and #8)
UST’s season has been anything but pretty thus far, though they are 2-1 and Abdul has put up the stats to warrant MVP consideration.
His 4.0 TOPG clip is too high for a center, but the veteran is also averaging 11.7 PPG and 8.7 RPG in Season 77. A few more wins for the Growling Tigers and the Cameroonian big could rise higher.
8. Alfred Aroga (Last week: not ranked)
Another Bulldog making his debut in the MVP race is newcomer Alfred Aroga, who has been a menace on both sides of the floor for NU head coach Eric Altamirano.
Other than averaging 10.2 PPG and 9.0 RPG, Aroga also leads the UAAP in blocks, swatting away 2.4 shots a contest. Allowing just 48.2 PPG to opponents this season, National U is currently the best defensive team in the UAAP, and Aroga has a lot to do with that.
9. Chris Newsome (Last week: tied for #3 and #4)
An uninspired performance against the Bulldogs dropped Newsome to number nine in the MVP race. Nevertheless, the New Mexico native is still averaging close to a double-double with 10.8 PPG and 8.3 RPG and remains an integral part in Ateneo’s system.
10. Jason Perkins (Last week: tied for #3 and #4)
Another MVP candidate who dropped this week is La Salle’s Jason Perkins. Hounded by foul trouble against the Red Warriors, the hefty big man put up just two points in 17 minutes of action in his team’s latest win.
Perkins will look to bounce back when the Green Archers face the Soaring Falcons, who are struggling as of late, on Saturday, August 2.