'Phenom' tops UAAP basketball's best monikers since 2000

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Mar 25, 2020 05:59 PM
'Phenom' tops UAAP basketball's best monikers since 2000
Because of Kiefer Ravena, Ateneo now has 'Phenoms' in sports other than basketball

The UAAP has long been a breeding ground - and a proving ground - for young talent before they make their way into the professional ranks.

In the last 20 years alone, names such as Arwind Santos, Ben Mbala, and Thirdy Ravena have showcased their skills in the UAAP.

Of course, all the highlights, all the headlines, and all the wins have helped define all those players.

If those weren't enough, however, a lucky few also had nicknames that easily identified them.

Here, we have gathered the best of the best monikers in the UAAP since 2000.

And we have broken them down into these categories:


When you think about La Salle' Mac Cardona, you think about his semi-hook shot - whether it be while he's standing still or he's rushing into the lane.

That is why he's "Captain Hook."

When you think about Ateneo's Matt Nieto, you think about his free throws and his long-range missiles that sealed the deal for Ateneo several times over in its three-peat.

(Photo courtesy of Chinese Taipei Basketball League)

That is why he's "Matty Ice."

When you think about Green Archer Mike Cortez, you think about his smooth and silky moves around and through defenders and even when finishing at the rim.

That is why he's "The Cool Cat."

The same goes for Joseph Yeo's sneaky forays inside the paint as "The Ninja," JC Intal's explosive leaping ability as "The Rocket," or Nino Canaleta's versatility as a forward, much like "KG" Kevin Garnett.

Following this logic, you would know why Larry Fonacier is "The Baby-Faced Assassin," Rico Maierhofer is "The Kite," Emman Monfort is "Pocket Rocket," Kib Montalbo is "Man of Steal," and Jason Perkins is "Hefty Lefty."


It's fun to be witty - and it's even more fun to use a player's very name for a moniker.

Take Paul Lee, for instance, a feared gunslinger even from his time in UE. So you take Mr. Lee's last name and put it in a phrase that represents the effectiveness and efficiency of a weapon - and you have "Lethal Weapon."

(Photo courtesy of Mon Jose Instagram)

La Salle had a shooter just as deadly, if not even more so, in the form of Renren Ritualo. And because Renren made it rain threes all the way to having his jersey retired in Taft Avenue, he was "The Rainman."

Kirk Long was never the fastest, was never the strongest, was never the best at shooting, was never the best at playmaking, but what he always had were the smarts to put it all together. That was very much evident especially in his latter years in Ateneo where he was one of the team's leaders - and that was more than enough for him to be mentioned as if he were William Shatner as "Captain Kirk," guiding the USS Enterprise to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Also included here are "Wild Wild Wes" for Wesley Gonzales and "Super Sumang" for Roi Sumang.


UP has not had an iconic moment in UAAP basketball since it won it all back in 1986.

Enter Paul Desiderio who, in the first game of UAAP 80, uttered two words that would become the rallying cry for all the Fighting Maroons.

From then on, Desiderio became known as "Mr. Atin 'To" - and in Diliman, he will always be known as the legend who led State U's breaking of the proverbial glass ceiling.


Monikers can be descriptive. Monikers can be fun. Monikers can be iconic.

Not one moniker in the UAAP since 2000, however, has had as much of an impact as "Phenom."

Kiefer Ravena has been known as Ateneo's "Phenom" ever since he donned the blue and white in high school.

Without a doubt, he did nothing but live up to that billing as he ultimately became a two-time champion and two-time MVP as a Blue Eagle.

His moniker, though, lived on in Katipunan long after he had left - with the school having "Phenoms" in women's volleyball, men's volleyball, and football.

Make no mistake, Alyssa Valdez, Marck Espejo, and Jarvey Gayoso are great in their own right, but they will always have a nickname that, first and foremost, belonged to Kiefer Ravena.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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