We’re almost at the end of the Rookie race and teams have around 1 or 2 games left in the elimination round. By now, we sort of have a sense of how the rookie landscape will look like at the end of it all. With most rookies serving as “fillers”, playing around 1-5 minutes to get the regular rotation players some rest, there are only a number of players that are having any impact to their teams.
Nevertheless, let’s look at the ladder this week and see who stood out.
5. Joel Lee Yu
One of the best moments in the FEU vs. ADU game came in the dying seconds when Lee Yu made an open layup. The whole FEU bench cheered for the first year player as he scored the last basket. They celebrated like they had won the championship. It was nice to see the Tamaraws support one of their own and good to see that the spirit of camaraderie was strong between the FEU players.
4. Kib Montalbo
For the past 2-3 weeks, I’ve actually struggled at whether or not I should put Montalbo over Inigo. But for this week, the return of Thomas Torres has really hurt Montalbo, playing only 12 minutes in the game vs. UE and only 3 in the game vs. NU (scoreless both games). Kib is really good defensively but will have trouble getting minutes since DLSU has a number of more experienced guards.
3. Paul Desiderio
Desiderio came out of nowhere and “exploded” with 8 points vs. NU. He was very aggressive getting to the basket and used his quickness to score, while giving UP a little bit of everything. He has shown flashes of being a good player but has struggled with inconsistency as shown by his 1/7 shooting the next game vs. UST. Moving forward, Desiderio gives UP a really interesting piece for the next years.
2. Axel Inigo
Inigo finally broke out of his recent slump and got 7 points and 3 assists against FEU. The point guard was on point shooting the ball and also dishing the rock. Although he had a pretty solid performance, he does have to work on protecting the ball better as he incurred four turnovers that game. Also, Inigo has to get better defensively, as it was clear that veteran guards like RR Garcia wanted to attack him every possession.
1. Kyles Lao
Lao is still the aggressive slasher with a respectable mid-range game that we all know, but, his numbers have dropped as of late. In the 2nd round, he has failed to score in double digits (after scoring in the tens 2x in the 1st round) despite somewhat getting the minutes. A number of things could be contributing to his dip in production like fatigue, scouting catching up and inconsistent minutes. Interestingly, Lao has also failed to make a starting line-up so far in the Madrid regime. I’m sure that at this point, fans really just want one thing for Kyles…Minutes.
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.