THE composition of the East and West lineups that will participate in the NCAA’s maiden All-Star basketball game this Saturday has raised eyebrows.
The country’s oldest collegiate league announced the 15-man rosters for both squads over the weekend, and while most on the list deserve their spots, some standouts - mostly foreigners - were noticeably missing.
Season 90 management committee chairman Paul Supan said the selections were based on the recommendation of the teams’ coaches, with each selecting three from their respective squads.
“Nagkasundo kami,” Supan said.
But Spin.ph has reserved spots here for those who were snubbed to get the recognition they deserve. (averages as of August 10).
Jiovani Jalalon (Arellano) – 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and league-highs of six assists and three steals in just 24.8 minutes
Nard Pinto was selected, but his backcourt partner was not. Jalalon is one of the main reasons why the Chiefs are right behind league-leading San Beda in the standings, standing at the forefront of the Legarda-based dribblers’ suffocating defense that has translated into their high-octane offense.
Ola Adeogun (San Beda) – 12.6 points, 10.3 rebounds, league-high 2.3 blocks, and 1.5 assists in just 23.8 minutes
The Nigerian slotman is arguably the league’s top big man, consistently coming up with solid numbers despite getting hobbled by foul trouble.
Adeogun reacted about his and his fellow foreigners’ exclusions on social media, with a hint of racial discrimination.
“In case you’re wondering why there are no foreign players in the NCAA all-star game, we will be having our own game in Manila zoo. Stay tuned,” Adeogun posted on his Twitter account @AdeogunOlaide10 over the weekend.
Asked about the tweet, Supan politely asked to avoid creating a fuss about the selection process, saying the exhibition match is for a good cause, with the proceeds benefiting the kids from Hospicio de San Jose.
Cedric Happi (Emilio Aguinaldo College) – 13.6 points, league-best 13.1 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 1.3 assists, and one block
The Cameroonian big man is the Generals’ go-to guy in the paint. But the two-time mythical team member was omitted. Instead sophomore forward Jack Arquero (7.4 points, 3.4 boards, 1.5 assists) made the cut and joined worthy teammates Jan Jamon and John Tayongtong.
Dioncee Holts (Arellano) – 11.4 points and 10.1 rebounds
The American has already made a massive impact in his first year, usually acting as the trailer in the Chiefs’ run-and-gun offense and scoring his points from putbacks. The 6-foot-7 cager has even flaunted his range with an occasional triple.
Holts has supplanted Prince Caperal (4.4 points, 4.1 boards) as the Chiefs’ starting center, but the latter was selected.
Jonathan Grey (College of St. Benilde) – 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.9 steals
The shifty wingman is one-third of the Blazers’ triple threat, yet only Mark Romero and Paolo Taha were included, along with serviceable big man Roberto Bartolo (6.6 points, 5.6 rebounds).
Joseph Eriobu (Mapua) – 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds, and 1.2 assists
If there’s one player who should’ve made the cut from the cellar-dwelling Cardinals, it’s the athletic wingman, who leads his team in rebounding and second in scoring, yet Jeson Cantos (6.9 points, 5.4 boards, 1.4 assists) gained the nod with Andoy Estrella and Jessie Saitanan.
Levi Hernandez (AU) – 11.6 points and 3.3 rebounds
The Chiefs’ top long-range threat was also noticeably absent, with seldom-used returning senior swingman Ice Ciriacruz (0.9 point and 1.4 boards) chosen ahead of him.