Ricci Rivero, Thirdy Ravena, Paul Desiderio, Alvin Pasaol, and J-Jay Alejandro all made waves in the UAAP season 80 men's basketball tournament.
The UAAP season 80 men’s basketball tournament had been witness to some great individual performances.
With its wealth of talent, it’s not a question why the UAAP is hailed as the premier collegiate basketball league in the country.
And because of its elite players that just ooze swag on and off the court, its dedicated fanbase became stronger and stronger, as each game day passes by.
Below, we’ll list down, in no particular order, the UAAP’s SWAG 5, the players who manage to drop jaws with their numbers, and with their undeniable swagger every time they step onto the court.
Taft Avenue’s second-year stud already had a massive legion of fans even before this season, but his breakout tournament saw him average 13.8 points in 48 percent shooting, 5.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.6 steals saw his fanbase rise even more.
Aside from the being the the top tweeted athlete in the Philippines, Ricci’s popularity comes only second to his pivotal role in the DLSU Green Archers’ runner-up finish in the UAAP.
His flashes of instant offense and his dose of pesky #MAYHEM defense helped keep the Archers solid all the way into the Finals.
Paul Desiderio was already full-fledged star heading into this tournament after being named as part of the Mythical Team last season. But he did nothing but step up even further this time around.
Norming 16.6 markers, 4.7 rebounds 2.2 dimes in the elimination round, Desiderio took the league by storm in only the UP Fighting Maroons’ first game by claiming, and draining the game-winner against UST.
His now-immortal phrase, “Atin To, Papasok To!” was an instant classic moment for the UAAP, and the clutch gene he flaunted this year only adds up to the stellar performance he put on all season long.
Beyond his numbers, Thirdy Ravena’s perfect example of leadership has been the key for Ateneo’s return to the throne.
Behind Ravena’s per-game statistics of 14.6 points in 44.6 percent shooting, 8.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and his ability to take over and rally his teammates, Ateneo finished the elimination round with a shining 13-1 record.
Ravena’s brilliance didn’t end there, however. He continued to wreak havoc in the postseason as well.
After falling flat in the season 79 Finals against La Salle, Thirdy made The Rematch his own playground.
The UAAP season 80 Finals MVP was the main facilitator down the stretch in both of the Blue Eagles’ wins in the title series.
Ravena was able to keep his cool and find Isaac Go, who delivered in the clutch in both Games 1 and 3.
Thirdy may be right when he said the top individual Finals award should be given to the team, especially with their overall team play, but make no mistake, he was the Blue Eagles’ X-Factor.
All you really have to know about Alvin Pasaol’s season 80 performance for the UE Red Warriors is that he can, and will, get buckets.
His per-game averages of 20.6 points, 7.1 rebs, 1.6 assists, proves just that. But his 49-point explosion, against La Salle, no less, lifts him up to another level.
Behind Pasaol’s smirk and unassuming frame hides a fierce warrior that would do anything to get on the box score.
Now a cult hero of sorts in the collegiate basketball scene, Pasaol’s hot shooting touch and fighting spirit makes him one of the best, and most enjoyable players to watch.
Handed the keys to National University's new, high-octane Jamike Jarin offense, J-Jay Alejandro ran wild.
Already one of the best among locals the previous season, Alejandro made Jarin’s plans on paper work on the court, fuelling the NU Bulldogs to a fast-paced style of play that let them hang tough against the best teams in the league.
Unfortunately, NU managed to just win just 5 games in Alejandro’s final season.
But that will not taint the graduating Bulldog, as placed third in the MVP race after garnering per game counts of 17.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.3 steals to end his outstanding collegiate career.
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