NEW faces abound in the major college leagues this season - some moving up from high school, others fresh from completing residency, a few from a foreign land. Here in no particular order is Spin.ph's list of first-year players tipped to make ready impacts in the college game this season.
INGRID SEWA (Adamson)
The 6-foot-8 Cameroonian's arrival has given the Adamson Falcons a major presence inside the paint with his sound defensive skills and impressing shot-blocking. Sewa's offensive moves are quite limited - understandable for a player who picked up the game late - but coach Leo Austria swears the guy is a fast-learner.
ALFRED AROGA (National University)
Unlike other prototype African centers in the college leagues who largely rely on their size to make their presence felt, Aroga is blessed with skills rare for a 6-6 player. The NU import is tenacious off both boards - he was in fact one of the best rebounders in a preseason tournament - and at the same time has the ability and versatility to take the ball to the basket.
JUNERIC BALORIA (Perpetual Help)
With Earl Thompson down with an injury during the preseason, Baloria was quick to step up and prove that he can be the team’s first option on offense. It will be interesting to see if he can sustain his stellar play in the NCAA wars as he tries to help the Altas make a return trip to the Final Four.
CHRIS NEWSOME (Ateneo)
After serving out a two-year residency, Newsome is now ready to showcase his athleticism and great court sense alongside King Eagle Kiefer Ravena. Newsome’s entry after playing high school ball in New Mexico has given the Blue Eagles another scoring option at a time when they are still reeling from the loss of go-to guys like Nico Salva and Greg Slaughter.
CHARLES MAMMIE (University of the East)
Mammie has given the Red Warriors an imposing presence inside the paint and turned the Recto-based team into an instant title contender. A transferee from Arellano, Mammie lorded it over the rebounding department during the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup which the Red Warriors ruled.
CJ PEREZ (San Sebastian)
Perez's emergence has brought hope that there's life for San Sebastian after the 'Pinatubo trio.' The Pangasinan native, who just finished his residency, has a lot of potential with his boundless energy and all-around game. No wonder he is often compared to former Stags star Calvin Abueva. Expect the rookie to fill up every statistical category each time the Stags play.
REY NAMBATAC (Letran)
Nambatac won a Rookie of the Year award with the Letran Squires in 2010, then won the juniors MVP award the following year. The guy is a winner, and he is not afraid to take the big shots as proven during preseason games. Coaches feel he is ready to fill the gap left by Kevin Alas after the high-scoring star decided to forego his final year with the Knights.
KIB MONTALBO (DLSU)
Montalbo has drawn a lot of attention when he committed to play for De La Salle despite being heavily recruited by Ateneo. This early he has been compared to PBA great Hector Calma by former La Salle coach Gee Abanilla, and he is expected to be a steadying presence for the Green Archers at the point guard position once he matures.
KEITH AGOVIDA (Arellano)
Returning after a long hiatus, Agovida is keen to make the most of his second chance. But he's not just any other returnee. The guy once scored 82 points in an NCAA juniors game in 2008, only to fade into oblivion following that record performance. Now he's back to make a name for himself with the Chiefs.
JASON PERKINS (DLSU)
He was lost in the hype surrrounding fellow rookie Kib Montalbo, but big boy Perkins has quietly earned a spot in La Salle's main rotation thanks to the left-hander’s scoring and rebounding skills. In fact, he was one of the top rebounders in the Filoil tournament and was in contention for a Mythical Five honors.