Ben Mbala and Jack Animam have had seasons to remember
For the second straight season, the De La Salle University’s Cameroonian student-athlete took home the UAAP Season 80 Men’s Basketball Most Valuable Player crown.
Mbala, 22, was miles ahead in the overall statistical points race with a whopping 96.58 SPs. The 6-foot-7 big man averaged a league-leading 26.0 points, 13.1 rebounds (2nd), 1.3 steals (6th), and 2.5 blocks (2nd) to end the elimination round.
“Thank you to the La Salle community! This is for you,” said Mbala.
The Cameroonian national team standout also took home the PSBankable Player of the Season and the Shell V-Power Most Efficient Player of the Season awards.
Thirdy Ravena was second in the MVP race with a 66.5 total SPs. The second-generation cager posted norms of 14.4 points (5th), 8.4 rebounds (9th), and 3.3 assists (7th).
Because of his spectacular second round, J-Jay Alejandro of the National University jumped to third in the SP race with a total of 63.85. In his final year, he averaged 17.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.3 steals.
University of the East scoring sensation Alvin Pasaol will take home his first-ever individual award as well with 63.42 SPs. The stocky forward averaged 20.6 points (2nd) for the season. The Davao native was not in attendance, saying that he did not receive an invitation for the event.
Completing the All-UAAP team was La Salle sophomore Ricci Rivero. Rivero compiled averages of 14.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.7 steals this season for 56.28 SPs. He also brought home the Appeton Most Improved Player of the season award.
Juan Gomez De Liano of the University of the Philippines is this year’s top rookie, ranking 14th in the SP race with a total of 46.69. The former UAAP Juniors MVP averaged 11.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.5 assists.
Ravena’s teammate Matt Nieto was awarded the Manulife 110% Heart and Hustle Player of the Season, while the UP Fighting Maroons were given the Milo Nutri-up Up Your Galing Performance award.
For the women’s side, Jack Animam was crowned as the MVP after posting norms of 15.7 rebounds (1st) and 3.0 blocks (1st) per contest.
Animam, who is NU’s anchor on defense, finished with 77.2857 statistical points, edged out Sto. Domingo, who finished with 75.6429 SPs.
“Unang-una di ko naman ine-expect kasi lahat sa team lahat kami star, lahat kami MVP hindi lang ako. Kung di dahil sa kanya, hindi ako makakarating sa posisyon ko na to win the MVP,” said Animam.
Sto. Domingo finished the elimination round with averages of 16.1 points (2nd), 13.2 rebounds (3rd), and 1.7 blocks (2nd). A technical foul slapped on her during a heated encounter against the UST Growling Tigresses last October 22 proved costly. A technical foul assessed automatically deducts five SP’s from the student-athlete.
Lady Bulldogs’ Rhena Itesi and Ria Nabalan finished third and fourth respectively in the race.
Itesi, a Congolese student-athlete, averaged 13.4 points (6th), 13.3 rebounds (2nd), and 1.7 blocks (3rd) to compile 71.14 SPs, while Nabalan posted norms of 14.4 points (4th), 4.7 assists (2nd), and 2.0 steals (2nd) to tally 69.00 SPs.
Completing the all-UAAP team is University of Santo Tomas’ Jhenn Angeles. Supposedly the fifth member of the team, Sai Larosa, was disqualified after figuring in an on-court skirmish with UE during their semifinals tilt last Saturday, November 25.
UP’s Marian Domingo was the top rookie for the season.