Ravena leads MVP race

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ATENEO de Manila’s Kiefer Ravena is on track for a second straight Most Valuable Player (MVP) award but two Growling Tigers, a Bulldog and a Green Archer are in hot pursuit for the top individual award in Season 78 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).

Ravena amassed the most statistical points (SPs) after the first round of the men’s basketball competition, gaining 70.85 points despite Ateneo’s 4-3 win-loss record in the tournament.

But Ed Daquiaog and Kevin Ferrer, the 1-2 punch of coleader University of Santo Tomas (UST), are just behind Ravena, while Alfred Aroga of National University (NU) and Jeron Teng of De La Salle are just lurking in the top 5.

Ferrer, a teammate of Ravena at the Gilas cadet program, ran second with 68.28 SPs, while the 24-year-old Daquioag, who erupted for a career-high 34 points in the Growling Tigers’ 83-76 victory over University of the East (UE) to lead UST to a 6-1 mark, ranked No. 3 with 65 SPs.

Daquioag’s latest offensive explosion unseated Ravena (18.3 points per game) as the league’s top scorer with 19.4 ppg. Ferrer was third in scoring with 17.9, followed by Teng (17.4) and UE’s Edison Batiller (15.3).

Ravena could leading the MVP race after the first round if UST continues to impress, but Ferrer and Daquioag, both playing in their final year for the España-based team, could topple the King Eagle because a won game awards players additional 15 SPs.

Aroga, one of the few averaging double-double this season with 13.7 points and 12.7 rebounds (No. 2 in the league) per game, was fourth with 61.14 SPs, while Teng, the acknowledged leader of the Green Archers, was fifth with 60.14 SPs.

Tamaraws Mark Belo (57.85) and Mike Tolomia (55.85) were sixth and seventh, respectively, while UST’s Karim Abdul (53), FEU’s Reymar Jose (52) and Batiller (51.42) rounded out the top 10.

The last player to win back-to-back MVPS was Bobby Ray Parks of NU in Seasons 74 and 75, and the last Ateneo player to win two straight MVPs was Richard Alvarez in Seasons 63 and 64.

Since Season 71, the year University of the Philippines also hosted the league.

The UAAP has adopted the SPs as gauge for determining the MVP since Season 71.

De La Salle’s Andrei Caracut, meanwhile, showed the way in the Rookie of the Year (ROY) race.  He amassed 37.14 SPs, good for No. 24 overall in the league.

A product of the San Beda high school program, Caracut was second in team in scoring with 10.6 points per contest. Ateneo’s Matt Nieto was second with 28.86 SPs.

Adamson University’s Pape Sarr is led the league in rebounds with 13.1 boards per game while Ravena and Tolomia were tied in the assists departmentwith 5.0 feeds per contest. Batiller led the league in steals with 3.1 per game while Teng had the most turnovers with 30 errors or 4.3 per contest.

The second round will resume on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena with host UP facing Adamson University at 2 p.m. and defending champion NU battling UE at 4 p.m.

On Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum, FEU and Ateneo clash at 11 a.m. and UST and De La Salle meet at 4 p.m. Tickets for both games at the Big Dome will be sold separately.

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