22 December 2016

Another collegiate season has passed and basketball fans following the NCAA and the UAAP were once again left with memorable individual performances from players from both leagues. 

Sports Illustrated Philippines dedicated this week in ranking the 50 best players from the UAAP and the NCAA, based on their individual statistics, team roles and how far their respective teams went with their campaign. 

Editor’s note: There may be some disparity between the numbers of NCAA and the UAAP considering that the style of play is faster in the NCAA with most UAAP teams opting to set-up and play it in the halfcourt. This issue was put into consideration. 

READ: #SI50 rankings: College players nos. 41-50

31. RK Ilagan 

San Sebastian - 12.7 PPG, 38.6 3PT%, 3.2 RPG, 2.4 APG 

RK Ilagan is probably the best shooter off the dribble in the whole collegiate ranks. With the influx of marksmen in both league, that says a lot. 

Starting up as a back-up to Ryan Costelo, Ilagan found his niche in the second round as he drained three pointer after three pointer after three pointer, allowing the Stags to salvage a respectable finish in coach Egay Macaraya's first season. All in all, Ilagan averaged 2.7 threes for game, making 49 of his 127 attempts. UST as a team made just 46 in the whole UAAP season. 

32.  Robbie Manalang 

Adamson - 10.1 PPG, 3 APG, 1.1 SPG 

Robbie Manalang isn't gonna play with Adamson for long and he was quick to show what he can do this season. Manning the point for coach Franz Pumaren is a very demanding job and least to say -  with a final four appearance in his first try -  Manalang has done a great job in meeting those expectations. He'll have one more year and with what he has shown this year, with his outside shooting and steady playmaking, next year will be fairly interesting. 

33. Bong Quinto 

Letran - 11.8, 5.3 RPG, 2.8 APG 

The do-it-all forward expectedly broke out this season with the departure of Kevin Racal. Bong Quinto has shown that he has the capabilities of creating shots not only for himself but for his teammates as well. The crucial thing now for him is being effective without the basketball as their lead guard in Rey Nambatac returns for one more year in action. 

34. Matt Salem

National University - 11.8, 35.6 3PT%, 6.4 RPG

When Matt Salem transferred to National University, not a lot of people were expecting from the former La Salle marksman. Looks like they missed out a lot.  The sweetshooting forward turned to be one of the few bright spots for coach Eric Altamirano in an other tumultuous season for the Bulldogs with his ability to put points in bunches and stretch the floor with his outside shooting.

35. Jom Sollano 

Letran - 11.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.1 BPG

Jom Sollano burst into the scene last year when he anchored the small Letran frontline against the likes of Ola Adeogun, Art dela Cruz and JVee Mocon in their finals win against San Beda last year. But with the departure of coach Aldin Ayo, Mark Cruz and Kevin Racal, the soft-spoken Cebuano just can't seem to find the same groove that endeared him to the community last year. 

That being said, Sollano is still one of the most versatile big men to play this season. It's just sad that we have seen the last of Jom in the collegiate ranks. 

36. CJ Isit 

Mapua - 11.4 PPG, 4 RPG, 3 APG

The continuous rise of Darrell Menina and the return of Andoy Estrella to the Cardinals' nest may have hit CJ Isit's stock and numbers, but when the dust settled, the peppery lefty still came out as the most solid guard among the rest. 

Granted, he could have done a bit better but he did just enough as Mapua once again came close to making a return to the finals only to fall to the Jiovanni Jalalon-led Arellano  in the semis. 

37. Monbert Arong 

FEU - 9.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2 APG

With the departure of Mike Tolomia and Roger Pogoy, a lot of load offensively shifted on the shoulders of Monbert Arong. While Arong struggled, least to say, in living to those expectations, he still did his squad a favor by being one of coach Nash Racela's top defensive anchors in the perimeter and his timely scoring.

He finally showed up in the two-game semis affair against Ateneo, but the Tamaraws eventually fell short and it definitely was far from his fault. 

38. Mike Nieto  

Ateneo - 8.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1 APG

"He's too small. He won't make it in College. He'll get eaten alive up there." 

Those were the criticisms Big Mike had to face when he made the transition from a star with Ateneo high school to the Blue Eagles. While he did struggle with his transition (much like any other HS star) he has slowly adapted, improved on his dribbling and shooting and worked his way up to the rotation of coach Tab Baldwin as a hard-nosed forward. 

He was easily Ateneo's best player in the Finals against La Salle and with how hard this kid works, he has big things ahead of him. 

39. Sean Manganti 

Adamson -  8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1 BPG 

There's a reason why Adamson's future is so bright and Sean Manganti is one of the reasons for their excitement. The lanky, high flying forward has given the Falcons another dimension to their point of attack which was earlier expected to revolve around eiter Papi Sarr on the inside, or Jerrick Ahanmisi and Robbie Manalang on the perimeter. The Falcons' success in the future might be hinged on how Manganti will develop. 

40. Dan Sara 

San Beda - 7 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4 APG 

Another guy who woud have been higher on the list had it not for injuries is their captain in Dan Sara. The senior guard was sidelined for most parts of the season with issues on his hip and his wrist. His head coach back then in Jamike Jarin saw the true value of a healthy Sara when he ran the San Beda offense to perfection in their finals match-up against Arellano.