It has been said many times before that in college hoops, more than half the battle is won during recruitment. That’s why it’s worth doing a recap of the incoming talents who are expected to make noise in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament. What are their names? Which schools will they represent? And what do they bring to the table? The answers are all here.
Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles
The reigning champs added more valuable pieces in their quest for a repeat. We all know that Mason Amos, arguably the best shooting big man in the country, will suit up for the Blue Eagles.
Joining him is 18-year-old swingman Shawn Tuano out of California. In 2022, the 6-foot-3 two-way cager was named California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Player of the Year as he starred for the Villanova Prep Wildcats. Another Ateneo rookie to keep an eye on is 6-foot-4 ball handler Kyle Gamber. Count on coach Tab Baldwin to know exactly what to do, having an unusually tall and skilled floor general on his roster.
University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons
The champs of Season 84 has a massive haul so far as LeBron Lopez, Luis Pablo, and Seven Gagate all committed to play for the Fighting Maroons. Lopez, at 6-foot-4, will provide tremendous athleticism on both ends of the floor. The twin towers of Pablo (6-foot-7) and Gagate (6-foot-8) meanwhile, will be tasked to fill the big shoes that Carl Tamayo and Zav Lucero had left.
With their great size, rebounding ability, and fast-developing skills, the two former La Salle Green Hills Greenies, along with Lopez are equipped enough to accomplish that mission.
National University Bulldogs
The third-ranked player in the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) has committed to stay in the National University basketball program. This season, Reinhard Jumamoy became the first NU bullpup to win MVP honors in the UAAP juniors division after norming 18.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 2.8 steals through the eliminations.
The 5-foot-11 Cebuano guard’s all-around skills have also translated into four triple-double outings. For sure, he can help the Bulldogs in a variety of ways.
Adamson University Soaring Falcons
Apart from Jerom Lastimosa, all eyes will be on Dwight Ramos’ younger brother Eli when he dons the Blue Falcons jersey. The 6-foot-3 guard is a dangerous defender who likes to disrupt the passing lanes and finish strong at the rim after getting the steal. Most people assumed that Lastimosa was already going pro after Season 85 but the King Falcon chose to stay for his final year in the UAAP. Perhaps the prospect of teaming up with a talent like Eli had something to do with it.
De La Salle University Green Archers
La Salle will field a couple of athletic Filipino-American combo guards in Geremy Robinson Jr., a standout from Moanalua High School in Hawaii, and DJ Mitchell, who has had NCAA Division I experience with University of Hartford.
Check out Mitchell’s hops in this clip from coach Topex Robinson’s youtube channel.
Expected to add firepower from the perimeter is Ethan Alian out of LSGH. The 6-foot-1 wing who averaged 12.8 points in his final year with the Greenies has the potential to be a dead shot in the next level. Meanwhile, the Archers scored a gem of a big man by keeping De La Salle Zobel’s Rhyle Melencio. As a Mythical Five member in the juniors, the 6-foot-4 forward posted 17.36 points and 14.93 boards for the season.
Far Eastern University Tamaraws
Like what his big brother Alvin did for the University of the East Red Warriors, Janrey Pasaol also got buckets for the FEU Baby Tamaraws. Posting 16.8 points, 4.87 rebounds, 6.13 assists, and 2.53 steals per contest, the 5-foot-11 guard was also selected to the Mythical Five.
Even more impressive, he recorded 21 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 steals as the Baby Tams defeated the Adamson Baby Falcons to clinch the UAAP crown. With Pasaol committing to play for coach Denok Miranda, the FEU has added an offensive weapon that might propel them back into Final Four contention.
University of the East Red Warriors
The Recto-based team will bring in heavy reinforcement for Season 86 in the form of 6-foot-7 foreign student-athlete Delveion Jackson. Suiting up for North Idaho College in the Northwest Athletic Conference, he averaged 20 points, 15 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.7 steals in five games, just before the COVID pandemic hit.
Peep some of his highlights back in high school.
Coming into the Red Warriors at 24 years old, we might see a “man amongst boys” type of outing from Jackson more than a couple times during the tourney.
University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers
The bottom dwellers of Season 85 are hoping to change their fortunes with the return of coach Pido Jarencio and the arrival of new talents. The Growling Tigers’ biggest catch during the offseason has to be SJ Moore. The high-flyer out the Arellano University Braves averaged excellent numbers of 19.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 1.3 assists, and 1.3 blocks in the NCAA last season. Moore will not only help UST improve but he, like the rest of the studs on this list, can also bring more excitement to the entire UAAP.