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Eight players to watch out for in UAAP Season 82
by Jim Lemuel Wilson, August 28, 2019 9:20pm
The University Athletic Association of the Philippines is just about to begin, and college hoops fans are once again raring to see their favorite players take center stage. The players, too, are excited to showcase what they can do.
Fans are now all too familiar with some of the biggest stars in the league, but who will shine brighter than they have done before? In this article, Courtside Philippines talks about the players that you should watch out for next season.
Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles
The UAAP season has not even started and Isaac Go has already had a great basketball year for himself. The sweet-shooting big man bested his teammate Thirdy Ravena, St. Clare-Virtual Reality's Junjie Hallare and Joshua Fontanilla, and the Valencia-San Sebastian star duo of RK Ilagan and Allyn Bulanadi to win the Most Valuable Player award with averages of 9.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in just under 17 minutes a game in the Philippine Basketball Association - Developmental League in June.
In January, Go also won the MVP award in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League as he led the Blue Eagles to the championship. If the past months are any indication, the former member of the national youth team is about to a strong final year in the UAAP. After all, this coming season can determine where he will go in the next PBA Rookie Draft.
De La Salle University Green Archers
Jordan Bartlett had so much hype surrounding before his rookie year with the National University Bulldogs two years ago. Being touted as one of the best young guards in the league then, this Fil-Am baller immediately made his presence felt when he registered 23 points, four assists, and two steals against the De La Salle Green Archers in just his second game with NU.
As Season 80 went by, however, Bartlett got less and less playing time as Jjay Alejandro proved to be the main guard of the team. And in January 2018, he bid NU goodbye while letting it known that he still wants to play ball in the Philippines. He tried out with a couple of teams, including the University of Santo Tomas, the Far Eastern University, and even the College of Saint Benilde in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Bartlett is now set to debut for the green side. Will he be able to show his full potential with Encho Serrano and Aljun Melecio beside him?
University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons
James Spencer was part of the Gilas youth squad that traveled to Greece and competed in the FIBA Under-19 World Cup just a couple of months ago. And even though the Filipino side lost all their games against Greece, Argentina, and Russia, Spencer was exposed to playing against bigger international players. That experience can only serve him well when the UAAP season starts.
This Fil-Australian Spencer guard may not be UP’s biggest offensive threat, but he sure can be a big help for the Fighting Maroons’ side bannered by Ricci Rivero, Kobe Paras, Bright Akhuetie, and Juan Gómez de Liaño. After all, UP has some unfinished business last season, and they are looking to finally win the crown this time.
University of the East Red Warriors
Rey Suerte was the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) MVP when he last played for the University of Visayas Green Lancers two years ago. He decided to forego his final playing year in Cebu to try his luck in Manila as part of the Red Warriors.
Although the Red Warriors has the second-highest number of basketball championships in the history of the UAAP, UE has struggled to get out of the bottom of the team standing for the past couple of years. It was also a blow to the Recto-based squad when Alvin Pasaol decided not to return for his final year with the school. Lucky for UE, Suerte is coming in. And he is hoping to bring the same kind of play he displayed in the D-League. Here are his 2019 PBA D-League averages: 14.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 1.5 assists, 1.1 blocks.
University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers
This one-and-done Tiger Cub is now ready to take on the big stage as he joins the Growling Tigers in the upcoming UAAP season. In just one year in the Juniors Division, Nonoy made it to the Mythical Team.
The incoming rookie is touted to be amongst the best young guards in the country, with some comparing him to the likes to Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon—two of the best guards in the PBA. Nonoy, however, is out to make a name for himself. And he’ll get a chance to help the Tigers end a 13-year title drought. Will UST finally get their 21st UAAP basketball title?
John Lloyd Clemente
National University Bulldogs
JL Clemente was a high school sensation for the National University Bullpups before he played his rookie year for the Bulldogs in UAAP Season 81. Now entering his second year, he is looking to help NU improve on a lackluster performance.
While all eyes will still be on Dave Ildefonso, Clemente can play a crucial role for the Bulldogs. For much of last season, Dave was the lone hero for their team. Clemente can be the Robin to Ildefonso’s Batman, or may even steal the limelight from the other. This year, we may see a much improved JLC, maybe an even better of himself compared to his high school days—when he formed a fearsome duo with Justine Baltazar.
Far Eastern University Tamaraws
Alec Stockton is entering his second year with the Far Eastern University Tamaraws and this may just be his break out year. In his rookie season, Stockton showed flashes brilliance with his terrific court vision and his ability to go coast-to-coast. He also showed his nerves of steel when he showed up big time in a couple of crucial moments for the Tamaraws.
In his second go, Stockton can be a crucial part of FEU’s system. He can also share the ball with Wendell Comboy, giving the Tamaraws more options on the offensive end. Stockton may also be up for a huge scoring night or two.
Adamson University Soaring Falcons
Last season, Jeron Lastimosa hit a huge three-pointer against the UP Fighting Maroons that extended the Adamson Falcons’ life to overtime. In the extension, Lastimosa also hit a trey that gave Adamson an 84-78 lead. That would have towed the Falcons to their first championship match appearance had UP not come back with just a few minutes left
This year, Lastimosa is out to prove that those two treys were not mere flukes. The product of Dumaguete is looking to improve on his averages of 7.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists on 42.7 percent shooting in just 20.7 minutes per game and maybe lead the Falcons to the promised land this time.
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