We’re now midway through the second round. As the UAAP games near an end, only Lao, Inigo and recently Montalbo have been given consistent minutes. The rest of the crop of rookies have been serving as “fillers”, playing around 1-5 minutes to get the regular rotation players some rest. This isn’t necessarily a bad deal since a rookie’s main job is just to learn from the veterans and absorb everything they see on the court. With the eliminations nearing an end and with only a few games left for each team, I hope the rest of the rookie crop will be unleashed to the UAAP wild.
Let’s look at the ladder this week and see who stood out.
5. Joel Lee Yu
Lee Yu provided great energy in the limited time he played coming off the bench. He scored a fastbreak layup in transition in the game vs. Ateneo, which was part of a comeback run in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, the run never gained much traction and Ateneo held on for the win. Credit Lee Yu for being ready, playing solid defense and finishing in the open court.
4. Paul Desiderio
Desiderio played 17 minutes in the game vs. Adamson (most he has played this season). He had a solid line with 4 points, 3 rebounds and a steal. Desiderio has shown flashes of great potential this season. He’s been able to score with a mix of jumpshots and getting to the rim. He also does a little bit of everything, contributing well in the rebounding area and occasionally getting some assists.
3. Kib Montalbo
Even though it doesn’t show in the box score, Kib Montalbo has had a huge impact in the current DLSU winning streak. He’s been a solid spot up shooter, has the ability to consistently knock open twos and threes. When Kib is in the ball game, it allows DLSU to spread out and space the floor. He’s also been fantastic attacking the rim and getting fouled in the process. The great part of his game is that his strengths lie on the defensive end. He has been solid covering opponent guards and forcing turnovers.
One stat that impressed me was that Montalbo played 8 out of the 10 fourth quarter minutes in the game vs. Ateneo. DLSU vs. ADMU was one of the most important games of the season and here the Archers were fielding in Kib, a rookie, against the likes of Juami Tiongson and Kiefer Ravena. It shows you the trust that the coaching staff has for the young Montalbo. He played as well as a role player could and was instrumental in getting the win, even forcing a crucial turnover in the last minutes.
2. Axel Inigo
If you follow the weekly Rookie Ladder rankings, you probably know that we really love Axel Inigo and think he’ll be a solid PG for years to come. Throughout the season, Inigo showed his brilliance in playmaking and at times was even the best distributor on the floor. He’s got great court vision and doesn’t force anything. Even with his promise and potential, Inigo has yet to find consistency in the second round especially scoring the ball. He’s shooting 4/15 (26.7%) in the second round, pretty horrible. With his shooting in a slump, he’s been able to do other things and help in rebounding and assists. ADU probably won’t make it to the Final Four but we hope Inigo can make the most out of the last two games and bounce back.
1. Kyles Lao
In the game vs. Adamson, Lao was terrific scoring eight points in 15 minutes. I am constantly amazed with the arsenal of moves Lao executes as he gets to the rim. He’s just really a gifted scorer. Being an undersized guard, he probably had to adapt and be creative with his dribble attack moves throughout the years. It’s good that he already has so many moves early in his college career. Throughout the 2nd round, I’ve always felt that Kyles Lao could have produced more for UP. Maybe it’s the limited minutes and touches he gets on offense. Would definitely want to see an upswing in both those areas for Lao.
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.