Race for the UAAP MVP Week 4: Ravena still miles ahead

MANILA, Philippines – Each week, Rappler will release a column dedicated to bringing UAAP basketball fans the leaders of the league’s Most Valuable Player of the Year award race.

Using the official formula created by the UAAP to determine its MVP, Rappler will compute the statistics of the tournament’s top players on a weekly basis to determine which crop of stars are separating themselves from the rest of the cast.

(Note: This list was conducted by Rappler and by no means is the official tally of the UAAP.)

1. Kiefer Ravena, Ateneo Blue Eagles (Last week: #1)

What else can be said about The Phenom? After a forgettable output against the NU Bulldogs, Ravena made up for it by beating the FEU Tamaraws on Sunday, August 3, with a series of clutch shots down the stretch in the fourth quarter.

Speaking of clutch shots, UST fans will surely not forget what Ravena did to them yesterday, August 6.

This isn’t a new phenomenon either; the Ateneo superstar has been torching the Growling Tigers dating back to his early years in the UAAP: 

2. Karim Abdul, UST Growling Tigers (Last week: #7)

Despite UST’s loss yesterday, Karim Abdul’s 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assists were enough to propel him to the second spot in MVP race, along with his team’s noteworthy win against UP on Saturday, August 2.

The morale within the Tigers locker room may not be at a high point right now despite the team’s 3-2 slate, but they have a chance to improve that record when they take on La Salle on Sunday, August 10.

3. Alfred Aroga, NU Bulldogs (Last week: #8)

Aroga had his most impressive performance to date on Sunday, August 3, when his NU Bulldogs squeaked by the now 2-3 UE Red Warriors thanks to his 18 markers and 15 boards. 

A menace on both ends of the floor, the National U newcomer has made strides in his first few games and distinguished himself as one of the best players in the UAAP.

Jeron Teng of La Salle didn't need to play the fourth quarter to reach totals of 25 points and 11 rebounds against UP. Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

Jeron Teng of La Salle didn't need to play the fourth quarter to reach totals of 25 points and 11 rebounds against UP.

Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

4. Jeron Teng, DLSU Green Archers (Last week: #4)

Teng’s 2-point performance against Adamson, a game which DLSU won easily anyway, looked like it would sink him in the MVP race. But then the 2013 UAAP Finals MVP put up 25 points and 11 rebounds without even playing a minute in the fourth quarter against UP, enabling him to maintain his spot at #4.

5. Mac Belo, FEU Tamaraws (Last week: #2)

Belo’s Tamaraws lost to the Blue Eagles on Sunday, but the versatile big contributed as much as he could: 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists, which further emphasized that he is not only one of FEU’s best players; he’s also one of the best performers in college hoops today. 

Against Ateneo, it just so happened Ravena made a few more plays.

6. Chris Newsome (Last week: #9)

Ravena was the hero of Ateneo’s win over UST, but it was Newsome who was carrying the load in the fourth quarter, including converting a critical and-one play that gave the Blue Eagles a 61-60 lead.

Though it’s mostly gone under the radar, the New Mexico native has increased his performance as of late, putting him higher in the MVP race after falling to #9 last week.

7. Arvin Tolentino (Last week: #3)

After a screaming start to Season 77, Ateneo’s prized recruit slowed down a bit in his team’s past two games. Then again, he still recorded 14 points against the Growling Tigers and for the season, is averaging 13.7 PPG and 7.3 RPG. 

Many have criticized Tolentino, but the rookie is a true freshman who came straight out of high school did not spend any time in Ateneo’s Team B, and was inserted right away into the starting line-up. Thus far, he’s been impressive and is up-and-away the leader for the rookie of the year award.

8. Jeth Rosario (Last week: #6)

Rosario took a back seat against UE as Aroga dominated the show. However, he’s still in the top 10 of the MVP race and continues to lead the Bulldogs in scoring.

After all, Coach Eric and Aroga said it best following the win over the Red Warriors: this club doesn’t care about individual stats; what matters is that they come out on top with the win. Now at 5-1 and ahead in the league standings, that seems to be the case for the Bulldogs.

9. Mike Tolomia (Last week: #5)

Tolomia’s 5-of-16 output against Ateneo contributed to Tamaraws’ loss, which helped bounce him out of the top 5 in the MVP race.

Nonetheless, he’s still averaging 16.6 PPG, 3.6 APG, and 3.4 RPG, which are tremendous stats for the FEU marksman.

10. Glenn Khobuntin (Last week: not ranked)

Khobuntin makes his debut in the MVP race after improving his play in the past few games. With him, Rosario, and Aroga at the forefront of the Bulldogs’ attack, they can make a case for being the best frontcourt in the UAAP today. - Rappler.com