FOR the second straight week, Kai Sotto of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets is the top high school performer in UAAP Juniors basketball.
The imposing 7-foot-2 center posted gaudy numbers to help his team notch back-to-back wins and, more importantly, secure a seat in the coveted Final Four.
After putting up 18 points and 11 rebounds in a win over the UPIS Junior Fighting Maroons, he had a monster double-double of 33 points and 11 boards for an encore against the UST Tiger Cubs. He also tallied five assists in each of the two games. Ateneo now boasts of a 9-3 record with two games left in the elimination round.
Sotto's continued dominance in the Juniors ranks earned him the number one spot in the Chooks-to-Go/NBTC UAAP 24 weekly high school rankings for the second week in a row. This is the first time this season that a player has claimed the pole position in two consecutive weeks, and his fourth time claiming the no. 1 spot.
The Blue Eaglets’ rise in the standings is joined by fellow Final Four combatants NU Bullpups, FEU Baby Tamaraws, and Adamson Baby Falcons.
The Baby Falcons got a huge lift from Joem Sabandal in their playoff-clinching win over De La Salle Zobel as he poured in 19 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists, earning him the second spot right behind Sotto.
NU’s one-two punch of Gerry Abadiano and Carl Tamayo remained in the upper echelon of the rankings by getting the third and fifth slots respectively.
Meanwhile, Ateneo’s highly touted point guard Forthsky Padrigao finally broke into the top five for the first time. Padrigao’s playmaking ability was in full display after a 17-point, 9-rebound, 6-assist performance versus UPIS, and a 13-point, 9-assist, and 6-steal outing against UST.
Completing the top 10 in the ninth week of the Chooks-to-Go/NBTC UAAP 24 are RJ Abarrientos of FEU, Mark Nonoy of UST, twins Adam and Andrey Doria of Adamson, and Geo Chiu of Ateneo.
Here are the complete Week 9 rankings of the Chooks-to-Go/NBTC UAAP 24:
1. Kai Sotto (ADMU) (1)
2. Joem Sabandal (AdU) (9)
3. Gerry Abadiano (NU) (2)
4. Forthsky Padrigao (ADMU) (7)
5. Carl Tamayo (NU) (4)
6. RJ Abarrientos (FEU) (6)
7. Mark Nonoy (UST) (3)
8. Adam Doria (AdU) (11)
9. Andrey Doria (AdU) (N/A)
10. Geo Chiu (ADMU) (16)
11. Xyrus Torres (FEU) (14)
12. Kevin Quiambao (NU) (N/A)
13. Bismarck Lina (UST) (10)
14. Ian Espinosa (ADMU) (N/A)
15. Terrence Fortea (NU) (5)
16. RR Tolentino (FEU) (N/A)
17. Bryan Sajonia (FEU) (N/A)
18. Shane Dichoso (UE) (N/A)
19. AP Manlapaz (AdU) (15)
20. Ralph Labao (UPIS) (21)
21. Nat Sevilla (DLSZ) (N/A)
22. Ivan Cudiamat (DLSZ) (22)
23. King Vergiere (UPIS) (N/A)
24. Royce Alforque (FEU) (12)
This year, there will be three separate editions of the NBTC 24 – one for the NCAA, one for the UAAP, and one for the CESAFI – to accommodate the Juniors calendar for the whole year.
After all three editions have been completed, a final list composing the top 24 players nationwide will then be chosen to participate in the annual NBTC All-Star Game in March.