Ricci Rivero makes final Mythical 5, leapfrogs foreigners Sarr, Gaye and Akom

MANILA, Philippines – The UAAP board announced Monday, November 27, the Mythical Five for the Season 80 men’s basketball tournament, with De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers hotshot Ricci Rivero being named the final member.

The human highlight reel from Taft joins fellow Archer and 2-time Most Valuable Player Ben Mbala, Ateneo’s Thirdy Ravena, National University’s graduating star Jayjay Alejandro and University of the East’s Alvin Pasaol.

Due to a standing rule that allows only one foreign student – the Cameroonian Mbala - in the prestigious list, the younger Rivero jumps ahead of African studs Papi Sarr, Steve Akomo and Issa Gaye while having lower statistical points (SPs) than the three.

Despite only being included in the Mythical 5 due to a technicality, Rivero’s stats are nothing to scoff at. In 16 games (2 in the playoffs) so far this season, the 6-foot-1 sophomore has posted averages of 13.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and a team-high 1.6 steals in just 25.5 minutes of action. Behind Mbala, the fan-favorite guard has emerged as the defending champions’ secondary scoring option after coming off a tumultuous first round.

Here is the complete list of the league’s MVP candidates, their respective SPs and season stats per Imperium Technology – the UAAP’s sole basis of MVP voting.

(Mythical Five members in boldface. Statistics accurate as of November 25, 2017.)

1. Ben Mbala, De La Salle University Green Archers
96.6 SPs, 24.8 points, 13.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 steals, 2.2 blocks

2. Thirdy Ravena, Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles
66.5 SPs, 14.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks

3. Jayjay Alejandro, National University Bulldogs
63.9 SPs, 17.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.0 blocks

4. Alvin Pasaol, University of the East Red Warriors
63.4 SPs, 20.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.9 blocks

5. Papi Sarr, Adamson University Soaring Falcons
63.2 SPs, 13.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.3 blocks

6. Issa Gaye, National University Bulldogs
57.6 SPs, 14.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 2.7 blocks

7. Steve Akomo, University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers
56.8 SPs, 11.8 points, 13.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steals, 2.4 blocks

8. Ricci Rivero, De La Salle University Green Archers
56.3 SPs, 13.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.7 blocks

9. Paul Desiderio, University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons
54.5 SPs, 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.4 blocks

10. Chibueze Ikeh, Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles
49.4 SPs, 7.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.8 blocks

Rivero will now look to prove his Mythical 5 inclusion worthy as La Salle tries to avoid a Finals sweep by Ateneo in Game 2 on Wednesday, November 29 at the Araneta Coliseum. – Rappler.com