I love watching rookies, especially ones who I really know nothing about. Rookies, in my point of view, give you a chance for an unbiased evaluation of a player, without all the media influence. It’s just pure basketball.
I’ve quickly come to learn though that rookies (UAAP definition of the term) don’t really play much in the UAAP. I’m talking about the rookies who come straight from local high schools which are different from first year players like foreigners, transferees or guys from Team B.
This year’s crop of rookies only have Lao, Inigo and Desiderio playing consistent minutes and after that, most guys are given DNPs or just two to three minutes of action. It probably would be interesting to have scouted rookies in the times before foreign players were popular in the UAAP (but that’s a different issue altogether).
As expected, not much changed in this week’s UAAP Season 76 Rookie Ladder. Let’s look a look below:
5. Anton Asistio
Bolick and Paras didn’t play this week, and it doesn’t really take much to garner the fifth spot this year but nevertheless welcome to the Ladder, Anton Asistio. The rookie could be a big three-point weapon for Ateneo in years to come but hasn’t got much playing time right now. He had some threes and assists in the preseason, but it’ll probably be a while before we see him contributing to the Blue Eagles.
4. Kib Montalbo
Montalbo played two minutes in the game against UE. He gave up a good foul to stop a raging Roi Sumang who was ready to take the ball all the way to the hole. Aside from the foul that stopped the UE momentum, Montalbo didn’t do much in limited time.
3. Paul Desiderio (Previous Rank: 3)
Desiderio had the start again for the UP Maroons against the Ateneo Blue Eagles. He hit a three, grabbed two rebounds and dished out an assist. Something tells me we’ve yet to see the full potential of Desiderio as he’s been racking up some rebounds and dishing some assists in limited time and probably has a more all-around game than Kyles Lao. The UP Maroons are having point guard woes since the departure of Reyes and it will be interesting to see if Paul can develop and grow into that distributor role this year.
2. Axel Iñigo (Previous Rank: 2)
The Falcons only had one game this week, but Inigo made the most of it and was brilliant in his 16 minutes of action as he finished with two points, four assists, one steal and zero turnovers (cherry on top)! Not only does he have the skills of a good point guard, but he’s shown us some veteran smarts and moves out there. Watch how he fakes his defender and goes the other way to shoot the quick jumper. The next play is also really sweet with the steal and no look behind the back pass to Jericho Cruz. Somebody give this kid a nickname! (Too bad cool cat is taken.)
1. Kyles Lao (Previous Rank: 1)
The UP Maroons only had one game this week and it was one of Kyles Lao’s worst games in his early career. He didn’t look like the confident out there, with the Ateneo defense not allowing him to produce for the Maroons in the first half He got it going in the 2nd half with a drive to the basket via a floater off the wrong foot as he finished with seven points and two rebounds. It was pretty much a let down to see Kyles Lao struggle especially since that game was probably the most winnable matchup the Maroons will have all season (with an ailing Kiefer Ravena and Ryan Buenafe.).
But hey, Kyles Lao is still a rookie and its okay to struggle and have some inconsistencies in your first year. The Maroons though really need Lao to step up offensively especially since he will be the team’s secondary option on offense behind Marata. I’m sure though that he’ll bounce back from this bad game and will even elevate his play in the second round of the tournement.
Disclaimer: All videos are courtesy of ABS-CBN Sports/UAAP Sports TV
Previous Rookie Ladders:
What makes a player in the UAAP eligible for the Rookie of the Year award?
The UAAP differentiates between Rookies (freshman college students from local high schools) and first year players. Only rookies are eligible for the ROY award in UAAP, which means that players like Ateneo’s Chris Newsome, La Salle’s Jason Perkins and the other foreign-born first year players are not included in the mix for the award.