Year-end Special: Breakout stars of 2015
Paul Lintag on Dec 27, 2015 07:57 AM
Pambansang bro Terrence Romeo brought his game and signature swagger to FIBA-Asia this year and Iran was not happy about it at all.
Sports is built around larger-than-life stars and when the new wave of premier athletes announce their presence by a breakout performance, we all get excited.
Although it is always fun to root for the established heroes in the sporting world, cheering for the new ones gives us a feeling like no other.
2015 had a lot of new faces grab their share of spotlight, and as part of ABS-CBN Sports' year-end special, we present the Top 10 Breakout Stars of 2015.
10. Matthew Dellavedova, Cleveland Cavaliers --- 2014-2015 NBA Season.
Making the most out his opportunity, Matthew Dellavedova emerged as a playoff hero for the Cleveland Cavaliers playing with and without star guard Kyrie Irving.
Although his name first popped out for all the wrong reasons, Delly's on-court contributions were undeniable for the banged-up Cavs in their Finals run.
After Irving was permanently out after one game in the championship round against Golden State, Delly was instrumental as the Cavs won their first two finals games ever and even took control of the series before flaming out.
Dellavedova is now a key role player for Cleveland as LeBron and company prepare for another shot at the NBA title.
9. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers --- 2014-2015 NFL Season.
The Carolina Panthers were fringe contenders in the ultra-competitive NFC to be considered heavy favorites to play in the Super Bowl 50.
Nodody told Cam Newton.
Super Cam has put together an MVP performance this season for Carolina as the Panthers are still undefeated with a couple more weeks left in the regular season.
Easily the best season for the former no. 1 overall pick and Heisman trophy winner, Newton and the Panthers have been runaway, the breakout star and team of the NFL Season.
His Week 15 statline? Five passing touchdowns, 100 rushing yards, a pick-six and another win.
8. Jason Day, pro golf --- 2015 PGA Season.
Filipino-Australian golfer Jason Day reached the absolute summit in 2015 after he took over the world no. 1 ranking a couple of months ago. If that does not scream breakout, nothing will.
Day won his first major at the PGA Championships and is currently one of the top golfers in the world.
7. "Prince" Albert Pagara, boxing --- ALA Promotions.
ALA promotions found a new star in Prince Albert Pagara.
Pagara scored a sensational second-round knockout in Pinoy Pride 32 and followed it up with another six-round ko win at Pinoy Pride 33, ALA's first-ever event in the United States.
The 21-year old reigning WBO Youth Intercontinental super bantamweight champion currently sports an impressive 25-0 record with 18 victories by way of knockout.
6. Jio Jalalon, Arellano Chiefs --- NCAA Season 91
Okay, so the Arellano Chiefs were the breakout team in NCAA Season 90 after making the finals against San Beda, but their main point guard in that run was named John Pinto.
Fast-forward to a year later, and Jio Jalalon is the undisputed breakout player of the season 91.
Jalalon transformed himself to the finest amateur point guard in the country today, a regular two-way threat and a triple-double machine.
It's going to be tough for Jalalon to possibly top his performance in Season 92, but if you watched the kid play, he probably has a lot more tricks up his sleeve. Next year is his to lose, yeah he's that good now.
5. Terrence Romeo, Gilas Pilipinas --- 2015 FIBA-Asia Championship.
Terrence Romeo in the PBA is the star people always love to hate but after a brave stint with the national team, Romeo is now the apple of the eye not only of a Taiwanese reporter but Philippine hoop fans as well.
His style, his technique, his overall game and his hair all contribute to the enigma of a character that is Terrence Romeo.
Basically taking over the spots left by Jimmy Alapag and LA Tenorio in Gilas, the Global Port star was a perfect complement to Jayson Castro in his FIBA-Asia debut.
The Pambansang Bro is here to stay, and we all hope he further elevates his international game to help Gilas win that elusive gold.
4. Allwell Oraeme, Mapua Cardinals --- NCAA Season 91.
Reigning Defensive Player of the Year, reigning Rookie of the Year and reigning Most Valuable Player, safe to say Allwell Oraeme had quite a debut season for the Mapua Cardinals.
The young Nigerian prospect burst into the scene with his superior rebounding prowess to help the Cardinals regain their contender status in the NCAA.
His exploits on both ends of the floor surprised everybody, especially since he's not a household name like Ola Adeogun or as flashy as Bright Akhuetie. He goes in, grabs 20 rebounds and scores 20 points, leaves with the win.
3. Ed Daquioag, UST Growling Tigers --- UAAP Season 78.
Even the die-hard UST fans probably never cared about Ed Daquioag prior to Season 78, now everybody knows him, not to mention how to correctly spell and pronounce his name.
That is what you get when you burst out of the gates to lead the slept on Growling Tigers to the top of the UAAP. With his near-MVP performance and a game built around suicide drives that surprisingly work, Daquioag had a season to remember in his final year in the college game.
His memorable game 3 performance eerily similar to the one Jojo Duncil had nine years ago almost gave the Tigers their 19th UAAP title.
Even with defeat, Easy Ed was easily the breakout star of the UAAP, he has a Mythical 5 and Most Improved Player awards to show for it.
2. Holly Holm, Women's MMA --- UFC 193.
Who was Holly Holm really? Prior to UFC 193, she was just another chic in the way of Ronda Rousey's march to GOAT status. Another name to Rowdy's list of accomplishments.
Well we all know how that turned out and we now all know who Holly Holm is.
A perfect roundhouse kick to cap a dominant performance signaled the changing of the guard in women's MMA. Until we see Rousey come back and win again, the queen now goes by the name of Holly Holm.
1. Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors --- 2014-2015 NBA Season.
Prior to the 2014-2015 NBA Season, we can probably describe Steph Curry like this: outstanding shooter, perhaps the best today, weak ankles, great style but not title-worthy.
When we describe Steph Curry now, any combinations of "all-time great shooter, Most Valuable Player, NBA Champion, leader of the unstoppable Warriors, Splash Brother, Global Superstar and Riley's dad" is widely accepted.
Curry and the Warriors' one-year turnaround from first-round losers to historically great NBA champion has been nothing short of amazing. And they are not done yet, just watch the current season and see for yourself.