Fourteen games were not enough to complete the Final Four picture. After two rounds, only Ateneo was able to secure their top seed and twice-to-beat advantage. All the rest have to survive knockout matches to determine their destiny. That’s how competitive and unpredictable Season 77 has been.

Before we head over to the semi-finals, we would like to present this season’s Mythical Five. The Most Valuable Player unsurprisingly bagged the award after sitting atop our Season 77 MVP Watch from the beginning until the end.

5. Karim Abdul, UST Growling Tigers

MP PTS TREB AST STL BLK TOV

30.0

14.4 9.2 1.5 1.2 1.7 3.8

PER USG% TS% eFG% DREB% BLK% DRTG WS

26.7

26.3 52.4 43.9 21.9 5.6 80.4 2.0

Karim Abdul is the only Growling Tiger whose Win Shares (WS) exceed one – the top three being him with 2.0, Louie Vigil with 0.7, and Aljon Mariano with 0.5. WS estimates the number of wins that a player produces for his team. This goes to show how Abdul carried the whole squad on his shoulders all tournament long. His inclusion in the Mythical Five despite UST ending in sixth place is a proof of his kayod-kalabaw performance this year. I don’t know if the departure of Coach Pido Jarencio is the one to blame for the team’s sudden drop, but if they want to be contenders again next season, somebody has to help Abdul do the work. Would you believe Abdul still has one playing year left?

He’s fourth in the league in terms of Block Rate (BLK%), fifth in Defensive Rebound Rate (DREB%), and seventh in Defensive Rating (DRTG). What sets him apart from fellow imports Alfred Aroga and Charles Mammie is that he’s doing everything on offense too. The #5 slot was a toss between him and Aroga but he edged the NU big man in points.

4. Chris Newsome, Ateneo Blue Eagles

MP PTS TREB AST STL BLK TOV

30.4

13.5 7.9 2.6 1.3 0.9 3.1

PER USG% TS% eFG% STL% BLK% ORTG WS

25.8

21.9 55.9 48.1 2.2 2.4 102.1 2.6

It’s such a shame that UAAP only saw two years of Christopher Newsome. Hopefully we’ll get to witness more of his awesomeness in the pros as he was recently drafted second overall in the PBA D-League. In his short stint in the UAAP, he was able to show his versatility – scoring, setting up teammates, grabbing boards, blocking shots, and most notably, guarding the opponent’s best players. The excellent help defense he’s able to provide inside the paint has also been important for Ateneo, since they don’t have legit big men who could single-handedly protect the rim from taller players. He’s been given a huge role in the team right from the start and he willingly accepted the challenge.

Newsome is sixth in terms of Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and Offensive Rating (ORTG). His midrange jumper is arguably one of the best in the league, and his three-point shooting jumped from 23.5% during his rookie year to 46.2% at present averaging two attempts per game. His hops and athleticism are also something else. We were deprived of his sick slam dunks this season as most were spoiled by defenders but it’s a good thing that the coast was clear on this one:

3. Mac Belo, FEU Tamaraws

MP PTS TREB AST STL BLK TOV

26.3

16.1 7.1 2.5 0.4 0.8 2.8

PER USG% TS% eFG% AST% BLK% ORTG WS

32.1

28.1 57.6 53.6 21.5 2.7 105.2 2.9

Mac Belo is this season’s king of efficiency and quality minutes. If the MVP award is not purely based on statistical points, this hardworking Tamaraw definitely has the chance to bring it home. He consistently led the league in PER and his true shooting percentage (TS%) and effective field goal percentage (eFG%) were also among the highest. The way he hustles on the court will remind you of Pinoy Sakuragi Marc Pingris. Belo appears out of nowhere to grab rebounds and he creeps up on you to manufacture points before you even realize what’s going on. His swabe moves tend to leave his defenders puzzled. He has shown huge improvement over the years and I think he has more in store for us in the future.

2. Jeron Teng, De La Salle Green Archers

MP PTS TREB AST STL BLK TOV

31.1

18.1 7.1 4.0 0.6 0.6 3.2

PER USG% TS% eFG% AST% ORTG WS

28.6

29.4 50.1 41.0 27.2 101.1 3.2

Jeron Teng accelerated in the second round to give the other MVP contenders a good challenge, starting it with a 32-6-5 explosion against rivals Ateneo. It’s a beauty to watch this burly forward drive strong to the hoop notwithstanding all the hurdles along the way. Who cares if the paint is packed? Maybe he even draws strength from bumping bodies before converting awkward shots. With all the contact he fearlessly draws, it’s no wonder he’s second in free throw attempts averaging 8.5 per outing.

His PER jumped from 18.4 last season to 28.6, ranking third overall. His TS% also improved, thanks to the leap in shooting from downtown (10.0 to 27.8 percent) and the charity stripe (53.0 to 74.8 percent). It’s also remarkable that he ranked fourth in assist rate (AST%), stacked up there among the league’s best guards.

1. Kiefer Ravena, Ateneo Blue Eagles

MP PTS TREB AST STL BLK TOV

35.0

21.2 5.9 5.6 1.5 0.1 2.7

PER USG% TS% eFG% AST% STL% TOV% WS

29.3

32.3 46.2 38.2 37.3 2.2 10.6 3.5

If there’s any good that Ateneo got out of the Season 76 nightmare, it’s the extra motivation that fueled Kiefer Ravena this year. Teng threatened to catch up in the MVP race but the Phenom was too far ahead to be overtaken. He never really had a bad game this season – only could-be-better ones. Yes he may have his fair share of poor shooting moments – worst was 3 for 20 – but he makes up for it by earning points from the line and creating opportunities for his teammates. He’s been mastering the art of drive-and-kicks, and when they shifted to less perimiter-based offense in the latter part, he amazed us with his drive-and-drops. He’s second in the league in PER and usage rate (USG%) and tops in turnover rate (TOV%), AST%, and WS.

Some people question the coaching staff’s decision to stick to Kiefer and allow him to deliver the goods for the Eagles whenever he’s laying bricks. He manages to take care of the ball amidst the tight defense thrown at him. He always finds ways to score and fourth quarter is Blue Mamba activation time. He produces roughly three and a half wins for his team. If these do not convince you that he deserves the trust he’s given, then I don’t know what will.

And that’s a wrap for our MVP Watch! Until next season!

MVP Watch Archives

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five

Week Six

Week Seven

To view complete team and player statistics, please visit HumbleBola Stats.

To know more about advanced basketball statistics, please read Advanced Stats 101.


All videos courtesy of ABS-CBN Sports and Action