Ateneo’s Ange Kouame, UP’s Zavier Lucero neck-and-neck in early UAAP MVP race

JR Isaga
Ateneo’s Ange Kouame, UP’s Zavier Lucero neck-and-neck in early UAAP MVP race

FRONTRUNNER. Ateneo star center Ange Kouame is the early UAAP Season 84 MVP frontrunner

UAAP Season 84 Media Team

Ateneo's Ange Kouame and UP's Zavier Lucero hold a wide margin in the UAAP Season 84 MVP race over other stars like Justine Baltazar and Dave Ildefonso

MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo’s Ange Kouame and UP’s Zavier Lucero are locked in a tight race for the UAAP Season 84 MVP award, according to the first statistical points (SPs) released by the league on Tuesday, April 12.

As is tradition, SPs are the sole basis for MVP voting in the league, and right now, Kouame is first by a hair with 68.0 SPs, while Lucero is breathing down his neck at second with 67.0 SPs.

Coming in at a distant third is La Salle’s Justine Baltazar with 58.0 SPs, while UP super rookie Carl Tamayo and FEU foreign student-athlete (FSA) Emman Ojuola are tied at fourth with 57.0 SPs.

Ateneo star transferee Dave Ildefonso is at solo sixth place with 53.0 SPs, followed by a four-way tie at seventh with 50.0 SPs – Adamson veteran Jerom Lastimosa, UP FSA Malick Diouf, and FEU star guard duo LJay Gonzales and RJ Abarrientos – to round out the top 10.

Based on traditional positions, Kouame, Lucero, Baltazar, and Ildefonso make up the first four members of the Mythical Five, while there is currently a three-way tie among Lastimosa, Abarrientos, and Gonzales for the last guard spot.

Although Tamayo failed to crack the Mythical Team forward spots in the first stats release, he is still the Rookie of the Year frontrunner, followed by Abarrientos, then La Salle hustle guy Michael Phillips with 48.0 SPs.

Other notable names in the latter ranks are Ricci Rivero, currently 11th with 49.0 SPs, and Phillips at 12th. In a three-way tie at 13th are Adamson FSA Lenda Douanga, Ateneo captain Gian Mamuyac, and Eagles lead guard SJ Belangel, all with 46.0 SPs.

Of course, these rankings would more than likely to change as the rest of the second round progresses, and as teams move up and down the standings.

However, given the run Ateneo and UP are having so far and the fact that Kouame and Lucero are showing no signs of slowing down, it’s looking like a two-man race for the league’s top individual award unless one of the runners-up make a drastic leap. –