EYES ON YOU, GIRL: UAAP 79 Women’s players to watch

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 17, 2016 07:01 PM
EYES ON YOU, GIRL: UAAP 79 Women’s players to watch
WOMEN EMPOWERMENT. Only in the first season that they have been playing in the same venue as their male counterparts, these ladies have done nothing but prove that they can ball.

The second round of the UAAP 79 Women’s Basketball Tournament is already underway.

And we want nothing more than to get even more glimpses of the future of Philippine basketball courtesy of these players:

AFRIL BERNARDINO – National University

(blue jersey with ball)

ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 19.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 4.8 steals, 1.4 blocks

(white jersey #12)

In a sport that has long had men at the forefront, how many of them can put up a stat line of 22 points, 10 assists, 11 steals, and seven rebounds in one game? Those numbers are just what Afril Bernardino recorded for herself to end the first round. And so, it’s looking more and more like the reigning MVP is to remain the reigning MVP for at least another season. Making her mark in almost all statistical categories, NU’s top dog is still, bar none, also the best individual talent in collegiate women’s basketball today.

GEMMA MIRANDA – National University

(white jersey #15)

ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 19.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists

As if the two-time champions didn’t already have the best individual talent, they also boast of arguably the second-best individual talent. Just think about it, Gemma Miranda is still able to stuff the stat sheet herself despite being teammates with the league’s top stat sheet-stuffer.

LOVE STO. DOMINGO – University of the East

(white jersey #19)

ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 16.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists

Just like that, UE have transformed themselves into a powerhouse in women’s collegiate basketball. On the back of Love Sto. Domingo, they are now in position to challenge long-time contenders NU and DLSU. The do-it-all forward has emerged as the rising star for the league’s rising program – just the way it was meant to be.

SNOW PENARANDA – De La Salle University

(green jersey #10)

ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 10.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.5 steals

When Ara Abaca graduated from DLSU, she brought along with her an automatic per game double-double of 14.5 points and 11.7 rebounds. And yet, the Lady Archers remain well in contention behind Snow Penaranda who has not only filled in for the former workhorse, but has impacted other aspects of their game as well. Abaca may have had better strength and ballhandling, but Penaranda undoubtedly takes the cake in court vision and playmaking.

CAMILLE CLARO – De La Salle University

(white jersey with ball)

ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 13.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.4 steals

As loaded as they have always been, DLSU have had their fair share of heartbreaks in the past two seasons – mostly courtesy of rival NU. And that is exactly what fuels their fiery floor leader in Camille Claro. Always in complete control, the Lady Archers’ captain has steered her team into a familiar place atop the leaderboard.

KAYE PINGOL – Adamson University

(white jersey #11)

ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 10.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.3 steals

While Adamson are far removed from their glory days in the 2000s, their march back towards respectability is well underway. Leading the charge is Kaye Pingol who is usually seen all over the court, trying to make something happen for the Lady Falcons. Her numbers are a tad below what the other stars of the league norm, but there is no doubt that is has been her who has always given Adamson a fighting chance.

JACK DANIEL ANIMAM – National University

(blue jersey #10)

ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 11.8 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.2 blocks

Bernardino and Miranda get all the press, but if it weren’t for Jack Animam holding down the fort, NU may have very well had a glaring hole in the middle. The unheralded third woman in the defending champions’ “Big Three,” her tireless effort in rebounds and defense is what allows Bernardino and Miranda to stuff the stat sheet.

KHATE CASTILLO – De La Salle University

ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 12.3 points, 24 total threes, 36.4 percent from distance, 5.8 rebounds

In Penaranda and Claro, DLSU already has a killer combination from the inside to the outside. Add a sniper in the caliber of Khate Castillo, and that’s why the Lady Archers remain the most dangerous threats to NU’s impending dynasty. The most prolific three-point shooter in the tournament, her floor-spacing is valuable to the floor leadership of Claro and versatility of Penaranda.

EUNIQUE CHAN – University of the East

(red jersey #7)

ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 11.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists

Sto. Domingo is the unquestioned star for UE, but she also has more than capable reinforcement in the form of Eunique Chan. Always in the right position and able to stay in position, she has become the end-to-end anchor of an upstart team that is only seemingly scratching the surface of their potential.

SHANDA ANIES – University of Sto. Tomas

(white jersey #5)

ROUND 1 AVERAGES: 14.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.9 steals

UST has lots more work to do to reach the top tier currently occupied by NU, DLSU, and UE, but their prospects are brighter than before thanks to Shanda Anies. A threat to score anywhere on the floor, her presence has given the Espana-based team a go-to scorer – something they haven’t had in quite some time.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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