UAAP wRap: Desiderio, La Salle rule the roost
In celebration of the UAAP’s historic octogenarian season (that’s 80th for those who are not familiar), Rappler Sports presents the UAAP wRap to provide weekly recaps of games and to highlight its best performers and teams.
Player of the Week: Paul Desiderio, UP Fighting Maroons
This Week’s Performance: 1 game (win), 17 points, 9 rebounds, 30% shooting
“Atin ‘to, papasok ‘to!” (“This is ours. This will go in!”)
On paper, UP’s third-year captain produced a horrible stat line in his Season 80 debut: 6/20 shooting on 2/11 threes is just inefficient. Had the Maroons lost, fingers would be pointed at him for shooting them out of the game. Fortunately for him and UP, one more shot was all he needed.
After missing all but one of his 10 attempts from downtown, the new King Maroon was caught on camera boldly declaring in their final huddle that his next shot would go in.
A play was drawn, the captain delivered, and the rest is history. UP won, 74-73. All eyes are on him now as they try to repeat their Season 79 upset of the Ateneo Blue Eagles on Wednesday, 4 pm at the Araneta Coliseum.
Speaking of Ateneo, their rising star Thirdy Ravena is this week’s runner-up with a stellar 20-point, 10-rebound double-double in their 85-65 rout of the Adamson Soaring Falcons.
Maybe sink UP on Wednesday with a game-winner of your own and you’ll most probably crack the top spot, Thirdy.
Team of the Week: De La Salle Green Archers
This Week’s Performance: Won vs FEU, 95-90
What is it that the Green Archers cannot achieve?
Even with their freakishly talented star “Big” Ben Mbala busy embarrassing other teams in the 2017 FIBA Afrobasket in Tunisia, La Salle still ran circles around their controversial Davao brawl-mates FEU Tamaraws. Although they only won by 5, they still led by as much as 23 thanks to their never-ending supply of talents such as Aljun Melecio (29p, 6r, 2a, 2stl), Andrei Caracut (16p, 4r, 3a), the recently sick Kib Montalbo (12p, 4 threes) and replacement starting big Abu Tratter (11p, 10r).
The Archers roster is so deep that they are undoubtedly a lock for the Final Four next year, since none of their players are due to graduate after this season. They just need to keep hitting the books along with their shots and stay out of trouble. Oh, and in case you haven’t heard, Coach Aldin Ayo is seriously considering to insert Mbala back as a small forward or shooting guard. Best of luck to the rest of the UAAP.
Coming in as the runner-up is their eternal rival Ateneo Blue Eagles. If only Papi Sarr suited up for Adamson and the Eagles still won by 20, they would’ve easily been first. For now, let’s put an asterisk on that victory till they meet again next round. – Rappler.com