It’s the end of a decade! From Season 73 to Season 82, a lot of players have come and gone from the UAAP, players that dominated the court, changed the landscape of the league, fired up their teams or simply captured the hearts of fans. In this All-Decade Team series, we at HumbleBola highlight the athletes and coaches who have defined the 2010’s of UAAP basketball for their respective schools.
The NU Bulldogs All Decade Team
It’s only fitting that we start with the floor general of Season 77’s champion team. Yes, he wasn’t the best shooter or the most explosive or the best defensively, but his consistency, craftiness with the ball and overall solid play from day one made him stand out. He started all but five games of his five-year career and his numbers steadily improved from year to year. It also helped that he saved his best performances for the Final Four.
A bit of an odd choice to go with a player that has just finished his sophomore year but he’s been that good so far. He’s a natural born scorer with the skills and explosiveness to match. In his rookie season alone he was already a MVP candidate and one of the best shooters in the league and has only gotten better in the following year. You can tell that his ceiling is through the roof and will likely land himself in the next all-decade squad. It’s just unfortunate that he’s doing this with one of the worst teams in the league right now.
Speaking of MVP candidates, was there any doubt that Parks would be on this list? A two-time MVP and generational talent whose combination of size, skill and athletic ability was unheard of during his time. Right from the get-go he was good for 20-7-4 a game. The biggest knock on him was his inability to lead NU to a championship but he did pave the way for the next batch to win it all. And his arrival put them on the map so to speak after years and years of basketball mediocrity.
F: Jean Mbe
I admit it’s cheating a bit to put Mbe in the forward slot since he played most, if not all, of his career at the center spot. But again, there weren’t a lot of alternatives. You could certainly make a case for Glenn Khobuntin or Troy Rosario but I feel that Mbe’s sustained play over multiple seasons versus 1-2 good years deserves more weight in this conversation. He was the model of consistency during those pre-championship years. He teamed up with Parks to form a duo with a considerable athletic advantage against opposing front courts. He was a workhorse with a high motor who did all the dirty work that allowed Parks to thrive as a scorer.
And now we move on to literally and figuratively the biggest reason for NU’s lone championship this decade and during the last 60 or so years. He didn’t really have the gaudiest of numbers but like Mbe before him, but he was a workhorse especially on the defensive end. And you have to consider how big of an impact he had in his rookie season alone, leading the Bulldogs on a Cinderella run to the championship. It certainly helps his case that he had one of the biggest moments of the entire decade blocking Kiefer Ravena’s layup to upset the number one seeded Ateneo Blue Eagles and book their trip to the Finals that year.
He was actually in consideration of the other guard spot but Ildefonso ultimately had the better individual seasons on not-so-great teams. That’s not to diminish what he’s done as the go-to guy in the post-Aroga years. He didn’t make much of an impact initially until he was handed the keys and he handled it very well. He went from bench player to do-it-all starter. His ability to utilize good footwork and pivot moves to create both for himself and his teammates will always make him a standout talent.
Head Coach: Eric Altamirano
There shouldn’t be any question about this choice with how he was responsible for their meteoric rise to the top. He took was a middle of the pack team in 2011 and 2012 to the Final Four in 2013 until finally reaching the top of the mountain in 2014. He was as crucial to that as anybody, especially with how he built this team defensively. He couldn’t sustain that for very long but the fact that he could even win one championship makes him the clear-cut choice for NU’s coach of the decade.