AT the end of the 75th season of the UAAP, Spin.ph pays tribute to senior players who made sure their final seasons in college hoops were memorable. Not all of them exactly exited with a bang, but these magnificent eight no doubt left indelible marks in the season just past.
Here's to the best of the graduating class of 2012.
The University of Santo Tomas senior distinguished himself as the best point guard of the season, not only because there was limited opposition but more because his game made a big leap in his five years with the Tigers. The former De La Salle-Zobel standout led the league in assists last season with 5.5 a game - mirroring a feat he did in 2010 - and was the best marksman from three-point range with his amazing 48-percent average. He capped his college career with an outstanding showing in what turned out to be his farewell outing for the Tigers against Ateneo.
Until shoulder surgery put an abrupt end to his final season with Adamson, Nuyles built up his reputation as one of the fearless shooting guards in the league by improving his numbers in each of his first four years with the Falcons. His highlight season came last year when he made the Mythical Five with averages of 15.2 points and 5.5 rebounds. He played courageously in his final season until the pain on his shoulder became unbearable, and his exit was one of the biggest reasons the Falcons didn't make it to the Final Four.
Salva posted pedestrian averages of 9.2 points and 4.5 rebounds during his college career, but those numbers are quite deceiving considering the impact he made with Ateneo. He posted averages of 13.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in his final two seasons with the Blue Eagles but it was in the postseason that he really made his presence felt. Aside from going perfect (8-of-8 from the field and 8-of-8 from the free throw) in the series opener of the 2011 Finals against Far Eastern University, Salva also scored 30 points in Game One of the recent Finals against University of Santo Tomas to highlight his career with successive Finals MVP awards. Definitely a true-blue hero.
He turned himself into one of the best all-around players in college basketball during his stint with Adamson. He made it to the list of the top five rebounders in the last two seasons and at the same time was one of the most proficient three-point shooters in the league with his 40-percent average. Camson also led the Falcons in scoring and rebounding last season with averages of 14.5 points and 9.1 rebounds a game.
The most dominant big man in the league the past two seasons, Slaughter finished his collegiate career with averages of 13.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks a game. There were stretches during the just-concluded season when the 6-11 Ateneo slotman wasn't as effective as Norman Black had hoped he would be, especially in the playoffs. But there is no question that the Eagles' five-peat would not have been possible without this gentle giant.
The NU big man narrowly missed Mythical Five honors in the recent season as he finished sixth in the statistical points race. A double-double threat every game, he averaged 12.7 points and 10.8 rebounds during his career with the Bulldogs. He was also in the top three in rebounds in each of his last three seasons, led the league in that department in 2010, and made 54 percent of his shots during his career - not bad for a player who came to the country on a hope and a prayer, in search of a good education.
The second-string center of Ateneo averaged only 4.7 points and 3.3 rebounds during the season, but Chua was one of the unsung heroes of the Eagles' epic title run. He started for the Eagles during the pre-Greg Slaughter season of 2010, posting solid averages of 9.2 points and 6.2 rebounds, and became a reliable big man off the bench the past two seasons. He was none more integral to Ateneo's system than in the final stretch of the 2012 season, after the Eagles lost back-up center JP Erram to a knee injury. Chua stepped up as usual.
Standing out for a team that rots at the bottom of the leaderboard isn't easy, but that was exactly what Silungan did during his career for the University of the Philippines Maroons. In all those lean years, Silungan's performance was a silver lining for the Maroons as he averaged 11.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.0 steals during his collegiate career.