TOUGH as the year 2020 was for everyone, college basketball is clinging to hope that things are bound to return to normal, in whatever form, sometime next year.
Spin.ph advocates the same mindset, and as we all pray for things to normalize come next year, we look forward for the eventual resumption of the games.
With that in mind, we picked the five names who we believe everyone should watch out for come UAAP Season 84.
We start with the obvious.
How funny is it that Ramos already has more games for Gilas Pilipinas under his belt (three) than official UAAP games logged in an Ateneo jersey (zero)?
Well, it looks like that margin will get higher with the third window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers set in February, but the longer wait just makes the supporters of the Blue Eagles salivate on how good, or even great the Fil-Am guard can be in a UAAP setting.
This early, Ramos already holds top billing at Ateneo and expect it to remain that way as he'll be tasked to play perfect music with Ange Kouame and SJ Belangel in the Katipunan side's bid to stretch its current dynasty to a four-peat.
Regardless of the UAAP's rules on transferees, Nelle is already anointed as the future of La Salle.
Coming off a stellar two-year career at San Beda, one can only imagine how good the 5-foot-10 guard can be for the Green Archers.
Newsflash: expect more of the same from Nelle, who may team up with either Aljun Melecio and/or Mark Nonoy in what is shaping up to be an exciting backcourt at Taft - especially with La Salle hell bent on vaulting itself back in the Final Four race.
But if there's any guard who can provide the Green Archers a timely tonic to this semifinal drought, there's no better bet than Nelle.
Bright Akhuetie and Maodo Malick Diouf are expected to be the focal point down low for University of the Philippines.
But that doesn't mean Tamayo won't get his moment in the spotlight.
The two-time UAAP Juniors Finals MVP, arguably the best big man in the high school scene last season, will have the luxury of playing with less pressure with the Fighting Maroons armed with capable centers manning the paint.
But it's intriguing what Tamayo can bring to the table in his rookie season- a gauge on what the future holds for UP with a player who years back has been constantly pitted against now-NBA G League Ignite player Kai Sotto.
Pressure may not be as big, but the former Gilas Pilipinas Youth star better be prepared to be constantly under the microscope.
It's been a long time since Far Eastern University had a super scorer in its fold.
A nephew of former PBA MVP and current Tamaraws assistant Johnny Abarrientos finally debuts for the seniors team where he will rekindle his partnership with premier playmaker L-Jay Gonzales.
History tells us that the pairing is meant great things for the green-and-gold, as seen in their travails in the juniors division. Times may have changed, but expect the same winning edge from that backcourt tandem in the seasons to come.
At long last, Lastimosa finally gets his time to skipper a young Adamson team.
Without Jerrick Ahanmisi and Valandre Chauca splitting time with him doing the quarterbacking chores, the onus will be on the Dumaguete native to live up the expectations vested on him by coach Franz Pumaren, who expect him to be one of the top point guards in the league.
Lastimosa did show flashes in his first two seasons, yet it is only in this upcoming season where he'll be looked at more as a featured player than a member of the supporting cast.
It's now up to him if he will rise to the occasion or wilt under pressure.