It’s been quite a UAAP Men’s Basketball season. The action on the court has been electric. We’ve all watched insane dunks, smooth drives and clutch performances from all the teams. Several players have had breakout seasons and some coaches showed how great they are at managing games. Fans have been treated to an amazing UAAP season. Here are the best moments for each team in Season 80.
UST Growling Tigers: First (and only win) in Season 80
This was a bleak season for UST. They lost 13 straight games and the team was in turmoil in the middle of the season. In a season full of Ls, they needed one W. In the final game of the season, they pulled together to avoid going winless this season. It was good to see the Growling Tigers celebrate after a game and end Season 80 on a hopeful note.
Honorable mention: Pushing Ateneo to the limit in Round 1
UE Red Warriors: Alvin Pasaol’s 49-point explosion
Coach Derrick Pumaren said so himself, this was the high point of the Red Warriors this season. Yes, they lost the game, but the Red Warriors were gunning for something bigger. When it was apparent that Pasaol could achieve something special, they repeatedly found him and he delivered the points. This was a breakout performance like no other in the UAAP. He cemented his status as a superstar in the UAAP after this game.
Honorable mention: Back-to-back wins to bridge Round 1 and 2
NU Bulldogs: Comeback win over FEU to keep Final Four hope alive
The Bulldogs were on the periphery of a Final Four spot for most of the season. They were a young team that showed inconsistencies in their game. But with their playoff lives on the line, NU showed just what they were capable of. Down by 15 points in the final period, they went on a huge 22-2 run to steal the win. J-jay Alejandro scored 11 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Bulldogs to the upset over the Tamaraws.
Honorable mention: NU showcases new system in season-opening win
UP Fighting Maroons: Atin ‘to! Papasok ‘to!
It was a tough choice picking between this and the win over the La Salle. But this shot set the tone for UP the entire season. “Atin ‘to! Papasok ‘to!” became a battle cry for the Fighting Maroons throughout the season. When things were pointing down for UP, they looked back at this moment and continued to fight through. Though they didn’t get that coveted Final Four spot, they were in the thick of things all the way to the end.
Honorable mention: The #UPset win over La Salle in Round 1
FEU Tamaraws: Pushing the Ateneo Blue Eagles to the brink of elimination
This year’s Tamaraws can be compared to the 2013 Boston Celtics. Just like the Celtics, this was supposed to be a rebuilding year for FEU with a new coach and a bunch of young players. But FEU accelerated their timeline by getting to the Final Four this year. In the Final Four, Coach Olsen Racela got creative. He played small ball against the Blue Eagles and they played their best game with their season on the line. They stunned Ateneo in the fourth quarter and prevented a comeback to force a do-or-die game against the top-seeded Blue Eagles.
Honorable mention: Final Four clinching win over Adamson
Adamson Soaring Falcons: Jerie Pingoy, future superstar
Adamson regarded as title contenders coming into Season 80 with an intact core and a reloaded roster. They stumbled out of the gates with a 1-2 record. Coach Franz Pumaren made a slight adjustment to his roster, starting Jerie Pingoy in their fourth game against NU. Pingoy didn’t disappoint registering 12 points, five assists and a whopping six steals. That was also the start of a four-game win streak that got them back on track. Pingoy has owed the starting point guard spot since then. He finished the season with averages of 7.5 points, 5.1 assists and a league leading 2.6 steals per game. He’s clearly the point guard of the future for Adamson.
Honorable mention: All the soaring Tyrus Hill dunks
La Salle Green Archers: Epic Finals Game 2 comeback
That game had all the makings of a sports movie. The Green Archers were fighting for their lives but everything that could go wrong, went wrong in the first half. Ateneo jumped out to a 21-point lead and was on fire. Ricci Rivero, La Salle’s second-best player was in tears as he was limited by foul trouble. But they refused to let the Blue Eagles sweep them. They showed the heart of a champion and fought back to not only get back in the game but dominate their opponents in the second half. The Round 2 win over Ateneo had a bigger impact in the overall picture of the UAAP. But in a vacuum, this win showed just how dominant the Green Archers are. When they’re at their best, they’re a chaos-inducing unit that uses their athleticism and skill to destroy any system they face.
Honorable mention: La Salle says “No sweep!” to Ateneo
Ateneo Blue Eagles: UAAP Champions once again
What more is there to say? The Blue Eagles are back on top.
Honorable mention: Isaac Go’s season-saving three-pointer in the Final Four