SEASON 78 of the UAAP is upon us and several new faces are again expected to catch the fancy of basketball fans as they suit up for their respective teams for the very time in the country’s premier collegiate league.
A few of them will be coming out fresh from high school, while the others had just completed their required residency.
Who among them would make an immediate impact? Spin.ph takes a look at eight rookies who’s likely to prove that they ‘do belong.’
Andrei Caracut (La Salle)
Caracut quickly made a good impression as early as the preseason after emerging as the Archers’ second leading scorer during the Filoil tournament. La Salle coach Juno Sauler likes what the former San Beda Red Cub can bring to the team.
“Si Andrei can play the one and the two. Ang daming dimensions na nadadala ni Andrei sa team,” said Sauler.
Hubert Cani (Ateneo)
The former National University high school standout can finally play for Ateneo following a last minute decision by the UAAP board to declare him eligible.
Coach Bo Perasol defined the importance of Cani for Blue Eagles this season.
“Makikita mo ‘yung potential niya. Magiging critical ‘yung contribution niya this season,” he said.
Jerie Pingoy (Ateneo)
The long wait ends for Pingoy, who finally gets to play for Ateneo after serving a two-year residency following his transfer from Far Eastern University high school.
“Naniniwala ako na he has what it takes to be aggressive on offense at maging pesky sa defense. That’s why we recruited him,” said Perasol.
Papi Sarr (Adamson)
The Cameroonian import showed a lot of promise during the Filoil preseason tournament when he posted double-double averages of 20.3 points and 10.3 rebounds.
Rookie coach Mike Fermin expects a lot from Sarr.
“We know he can score 20 points per game but the challenge is if he can get 10 rebounds,” said Fermin of his prized rookie.
Philip Manalang (University of the East)
UE coach Derrick Pumaren hinted Manalang will play a key role for the Red Warriors especially with star player Roi Sumang no longer with the team.
“I’m confident with the guards I’ve recruited. We have guards who are looking to pass first which is perfect to our system,” said the multi-titled coach.
JD Tungcab (Adamson)
Tungcab was the Falcons’ second leading scorer in the Filoil preseason tournament after being named member of the UAAP juniors Mythical Five in Season 77.
“Mahusay pero hindi namin siya masyadong binibigyan ng load para hindi ma-pressure. Basta contribute lang,” said Fermin.
Mario Bonleon (University of Santo Tomas)
Bonleon waiting in the wings is also over after sitting out the last two seasons to serve his residency following the move from University of the East. The former La Salle Greenhills and Batang Gilas stalwart made contributions to the Tigers right away, figuring as one of the team’s top scorers during the preseason.
Prince Orizu (Far Eastern University)
The 6-10 bigman from Nigeria is expected by the Tamaraws University as a threat on defense and offense for the Tamaraws.
“This year, our expectation for him is to become a post defender and be a rebounder. Offensively, he is a little bit limited. Pero kapag nasa loob na siya, we expect him to score,” said coach Nash Racela.