SEASON 78 as expected stood witness to the brilliance of Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Ferrer, Mac Belo, Jeron Teng, and Mike Tolomia. But beyond them, several players have broken out of their shells and showed enough talent and promise to take over the league next season.
Meet the UAAP's stars of the future. They certainly got next.
1. Prince Rivero (10.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 57 percent shooting from the field through November 12)
Rivero has been playing a lot bigger than his size, thanks to his tenacity off the boards against bigger players. He has avoided the so-called sophomore jinx, being one of the most consistent players for the Green Archers this season after gaining a lot of maturity in his stint with the Gilas Pilipinas cadets prior to the season.
2. Raymar Jose (8.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 41-of-72 from the field through November 12)
Jose has made such a big impact for Far Eastern University that he unexpectedly made it to the Top 10 of the MVP race after the first round. With Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, and Roger Pogoy gone after this season, the scrappy Jose should be one of the main guys for FEU next year.
3. Paul Desiderio (11.0 points, 4.8 rebounds through November 12)
After missing all of last season due to his national youth team commitments, Desiderio gave a good account of himself in his return to the Maroonsas he emerged as one of the team’s leading scorers. While the Maroons still have a dismal record, expect Desiderio and Diego Dario to take State U to new heights in the years to come.
4. Bonbon Batiller (12.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.3 steals through November 12)
A few expected Batiller to carry the Red Warriors this season, but the General Santos native did just that by leading the team in scoring while distinguishing himself as one of the best defensive guards in the league. Guards play a big role in UE coach Derrick Pumaren’s system and with the Red Warriors likely to parade a practically intact line-up next year, expect Batiller and Co. to become a major force in the league next year.
5. J-Jay Alejandro (7.6 points, 12 triples through November 12)
Alejandro has played a much bigger role this year for the Bulldogs, and we expect more of the same, or even better, for the former national youth team player come next year when a few more members of the Season 77 championship team graduate.
6. Pape Sarr (14.9 points, 13.4 rebounds through November 12)
Sarr’s scoring and rebounding prowess made the Falcons tough to beat this season. The Cameroonian big man even grabbed 20 or more rebounds twice this season as he helped the Falcons win three games - and gain a lot of respect. The good part is, he will still be around next season.
7. Adrian Wong (5.3 points, 1.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 20-of-48 from the field through November 12)
Wong has come out of nowhere to play a major role for the Ateneo Blue Eagles this season, especially in the current win streak that has assured the team a place in the Final Four. And with Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal playing in their final year, Wong should be ready to inherit the mantle for the Blue Eagles.
8. Marvin Lee (6.2 points, 1.1 steals, 14-of-37 from threes through November 12)
Many didn’t know Lee at the start of the season. But when he began shooting the lights out from three-point land, Lee has become one of the favorites of the UST crowd. The Growling Tigers will no longer have Kevin Ferrer, Karim Abdul, Ed Daquioag next season, so expect Lee to break out in the next campaign.