Okay, now for my second post for the preview and predictions of Season 76! For this post, we'll be talking about the MVP Race that will happen for this season.
Many people say that the MVP Race shouldn't be of utmost importance. Players will always try to downplay the awards that they get by saying stuff such as: "We should focus on winning a championship, not MVPs" or, "I win these awards because of my team mates". Whether you like it or not, deep inside those players' minds, they are happy and proud of themselves and NOT their team mates that they won the award. Well, they should be.
Last year's MVP Race was really close, with Ray Ray Parks barely beating Karim Abdul for the award. This year's Race may end up being closer.
To start things off, I'll declare my personal top 5 candidates for the award. My prediction for the top 5 is based SOLELY on my prediction for the stats of a player, since the stats of a player is the only criterion for the award. Let's get it started!
Top 5 (arranged by position):
C - Too many to mention and all are equal so practically all are candidates
PF - Too many to mention and all are equal so practically all are candidates
SF - Ray Ray Parks
SG - Kiefer Ravena
PG - Roi Sumang
Players who didn't make the cut:
Jeron Teng - Expect a Sophomore slump, his weak offensive skill set will be exposed
Terrence Romeo - He'll be checked come UAAP time, plus FEU's wins will come into play
RR Garcia - Terrence will limit RR's chances to shine
Jeric Teng - Aljon and Karim will take over, although expect him to be clutch
Juami Tiongson - Expect great assist totals, but all around play will cost him a slot
Jericho Cruz - Too volume of a shooter, may be inconsistent
Center and Power Forward Position: Practically all namely Alfred Aroga, Karim Abdul, Jeth Troy Rosario, Emmanuel Mbe, Charles Mammie, Ingrid Sewa, Jason Perkins, Norbert Torres, Chris Newsome, Aljon Mariano, Rodney Brondial
|Karim Abdul will be facing more competition not only for the MVP plum,|
but also for the Center and PF Mythical 5 slots. (credits to abs - cbnnews.com)
Why they won't win the MVP race: ... because THEY are a THEY and not a HE. In short, the talent is too deep here, that winning the MVP is already a tough challenge for each player. The players with arguably the best chance to win the award are Karim Abdul, Alfred Aroga and Charles Mammie, and that's only because of their teams records.
Small Forward Position: Ray Ray Parks (NU Bulldogs)
|Ray Parks + Inspiration because of father's death? Be scared UAAP.|
This man is on a mission.
(credits to interaksyon.com)
Why he is an MVP Candidate: He's Ray Ray Parks. He wants to prove to everyone that he is indeed the best player in the college basketball scene, plus, his father (RIP, #respect) just died, so that adds extra motivation for him to win a championship, and another MVP plum even. It's as simple as that, really.
Why he won't win the MVP Race: He has more team mates to give the ball too, thus his production in terms of scoring will reduce. You may argue that last year, the case was the same for Parks. Well, he has BETTER team mates now. Gelo Alolino is slowly becoming a top tier point guard. Alfred Aroga and Jeth Troy Rosario have emerged as a monster front court duo. Emmanuel Mbe will add depth to the Bulldogs' offense. His rebounding might also decrease because of the bigger front court, although expect his assist totals to increase.
You can also factor in that he has way more competition ahead of him. Kiefer has finally shown that he can indeed take over a team, and the results are SCARY. Roi Sumang is turning into an all around beast. The influx of big men is insane, and practically all of the big men in the league right now are potential MVP candidates. Point is, the competition Ray Ray is facing this year is unlike anything that he has faced before, and he better watch out.
Shooting Guard Position: Kiefer Ravena (Ateneo Blue Eagles)
|For once, Kiefer is in full control of the Eagles,|
and he's doing a hell of a good job doing it. (credits to Philip Sison)
Why he is an MVP candidate: Think of it this way; For the past two years, despite having Greg Slaughter and Nico Salva in the team, he was still a top 5 MVP candidate (He should have been in the Mythical Five last year, not Romeo IMO). He averaged 16 points a game with those two reducing the number of offensive touches that he had. Now, those two are gone. He'll be leading the Blue Eagles now. Plus, he's become better and stronger. His play has become Kobe - esque. He's not only the Blue Mamba now, he's also the Blue Granada. He has doubters to prove, and for sure, he wants to prove every single one of them wrong. Scary.
Why he won't win the MVP Race: All defenses will be focused on him. That's one thing that's bad about the Blue Eagles this year, Kiefer is the only super scorer in the team. Ryan Buenafe is inconsistent in terms of scoring. Juami Tiongson is more of a playmaker. Chris Newsome isn't exactly the best creator out there. Frank Golla won't be attracting much defenses. So obviously, it will be Kiefer's task to score, and all eyes will be on him. Kiefer may try to facilitate to his team mates, but the defenses might be too tight for him to pass out to the open man. One good example of this was the UST game. Kevin Ferrer did a masterful job of containing Kiefer. He had a line of 7 - 6 - 5, but he forced too much shots thus resulting to an ABYSMAL 3 of 18 shooting clip.
Point Guard Position: Roi Sumang (UE Red Warriors)
|Roi Sumang has emerged as the top point guard in the UAAP. (credits to Filoil Flying V Sports)|
Why he is an MVP candidate: He has more friends to pass out to now. Roi Sumang has emerged as arguably the best all around point guard in the league. Last year, he was known as a super scorer, but for the preseason, he has proven that he can also become a top tier facilitator if he needs to. The addition of Charles Mammie will surely help Sumang's case even more. He's also become quite the rebounder, grabbing 9 rebounds in UE's championship game against NU. With more team mates to carry the offensive load with, he can not only rack up his points, but also his assist totals.
Why he won't win the MVP Race: The experience and pressure factor. Roi Sumang is practically entering unknown waters this season. For the past two seasons, UE wasn't expected to soar into great heights. Well, now they are. People expect him to lead UE to no less than a Final Four spot. He has no more excuses. He's playing out of his mind right now. He has Charles Mammie with him. UE's become way deeper compared to last year. How will he respond to the pressure that is being put into him? When it's clutch time, will he still be willing to take the last shot? How will he respond to the defenses opposing teams will throw at him when a big shot is needed?
This year's race will be crazy tight, just like the upcoming UAAP season. The talent for this year is crazy, that even predicting the Mythical Five is a toughie. In my humble opinion though, the race will come down to two men, and FINALLY, it will come down to these two men. Kiefer Ravena and Ray Ray Parks.
|It finally comes down to these two. Arguably the future back court of Gilas Pilipinas.|
If there's Kobe vs. LeBron in ths US, there's Kiefer vs. Ray Ray in the Philippines.
(credits to ph.news.yahoo.com)
They ended up as the top two players during the Filoil Preseason Tournament. Kiefer beat out Ray Ray by 7 total statistical points with 449 compared to Ray Ray's 442. You may argue that was only the preseason tournament, but still. Both players performed on par to how they were expected to perform, and you can expect even better performances by both players come Season 76. To think that the first match for NU and Ateneo will be against each other.. WOW.
I personally like both players, and I don't want to make a prediction on who will win, but I have to. As much as it pains me to say this, (I've been a Kiefer Ravena supporter ever since his High School days) I predict Ray Ray Parks to win his third straight MVP plum, albeit controversially even. The mix of talent, skill and physical prowess will prove too much for Kiefer's skill and on court smarts to handle. Kiefer may win the scoring title this year, but Ray Ray's all around game is just too much for scoring to beat. The ability of Ray to block shots may prove to be the key to his third straight MVP crown. Although if the format of the race was the one used a couple of years back, I think Kiefer would win. Why? Well, let's say it could end up being similar to the LA Tenorio - Calvin Abueva MVP Race this past conference in the PBA. But the format being used isn't the one used back then, so I say the award will go once again to Ray Ray Parks.
The next part of my UAAP Season 76 preview will consist of analysis of each team's chances to win the championship. The UP Fighting Maroons will be the first team to be analyzed.