THERE are players who are surpassing expectations in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, but there are also those who are expected to shine this season yet have so far left their teams wanting more.
Here are three sophomores and one junior who have made the list of Underachievers.
Sophomore jinx for Pinto?
Nard John Pinto was Arellano’s top assist man (3.7) and third-leading scorer (10.4 points) in his rookie year last season. After honing his skills in the PBA D-League with Jose Rizal University-Air21 and with the departure of veteran point guards Rocky Acidre and Vergel Zulueta, the 22-year-old playmaker from Davao was primed for a breakout year.
But the guard has so far been a disappointment in the first three games of his second year, averaging only seven points on 24-percent shooting, 5.7 boards, 3.7 assists, 1.7 steals, and a league-worst six turnovers in 27.3 minutes in three games.
Vs. San Sebastian: 10 points, 4-of-16 shooting, six boards, five assists, one steal, seven turnovers in 31 minutes
Vs. Lyceum: seven points, 2-of-7 shooting, five boards, three assists, two steals, five turnovers in 25 minutes
Vs. San Beda: Four points 2 of 11, six boards, three assists, two steals, one block, 6 turnovers in 26 minutes
Thompson firing blanks
Earl Scottie Thompson’s rise to stardom is being hampered by a back injury that caused him to miss the whole Filoil Flying V Cup. The NCAA Season 88’s Most Improved Player, Thompson did show a glimpse of why he is one of the league’s most athletic and complete players by delivering in limited minutes in University of Perpetual Help’s opening win over Emilio Aguinaldo.
Since then, however, the Digos City native, who celebrates his 20th birthday on Friday, has been norming just two points on 18-percent shooting, three boards, and 2.5 turnovers in 20 minutes per game.
Vs. Emilio Aguinaldo: 14 points, 5-of-8 shooting, four boards, one turnover, in 10 minutes
Vs. Jose Rizal University: four points, 2-of-5 shooting, four boards, four turnovers in 21 minutes
Vs. SSC: scoreless, 0-of-6 shooting, two rebounds, one assist, one steal, one turnover in 19 minutes
Nard Pinto is not the only Chief who has been experiencing the so-called “sophomore slump.”
James Forrester also submitted sub-par numbers in his first two games, where the athletic Filipino-Canadian swingman failed to reach double figures in scoring while shooting just 18 percent from the field.
The Chiefs’ skipper, who’s in his last year of eligibility, did bounce back with a vengeance in their loss to San Beda, scoring in double figures in an effort that nonetheless went for naught.
Vs. SSC: six points, 2-of-11 shooting, four boards, three assists, two blocks, two turnovers in 20 minutes
Vs. Lyceum: eight points, 2-of-11 shooting, three boards, five assists, one steal, two turnovers in 28 minutes
Vs. SBC: 15 points, 4-of-6 shooting, two boards, three steals, four turnovers in 27 minutes
Cedric Benjamin Happi Noube
Cedric Happi seems unhappy on the offensive end of the floor.
Adjudged the NCAA’s Rookie of the Year last season after averaging 16.1 points and 12.7 rebounds last season, the Cameroonian slotman’s numbers were expected to be even better in his second year.
While his rebounding has been constant, the foreigner’s scoring is the statistic that needs improvement as he is averaging just 10 points, six less than his scoring average last season.
Vs. Perpetual Help: eight points, 2-of-8 shooting, 14 boards, one assist, one steal, four turnovers
Vs. Letran: 10 points, 3-of-7 shooting, seven boards, one steal in 24 minutes
Vs. St. Benilde: 14 points, 5-of-17 shooting, 17 boards, one assist, two steals, one block, six turnovers
Vs. SBC: eight points on 4-of-9 shooting, 10 rebounds, one assist, one block, one turnover in 36 minutes