June 22, 2024

Fueling the Game: Top 5 ballers of UAAP Season 86 women's basketball Vol. 14

Fueling the Game: Top 5 ballers of UAAP Season 86 women
Art by Royce Nicdao

The Final Four of the women's basketball tournament in UAAP Season 86 this weekend is gonna be cray-cray! The red-hot NU Lady Bulldogs are out to defend their crown, while the UST Growling Tigresses, UP Fighting Maroons, and the Ateneo Blue Eagles look to steal the throne.

But before that, let's tip our hat to five players who showed out in the final two days of the elimination round. The weekend witnessed a handful of spectacular individual performances. It was tough to choose who should make the last edition of this list

With that said, honorable mentions go to Janiaba Konateh of NU, Kacey dela Rosa of Ateneo, Josee Kaputu of the FEU Tamaraws, and Lee Sario of the De La Salle Green Archers.

5. Cris Padilla - Adamson Lady Falcons

Never too late for Padilla to make the list. She arguably saved her best for last this season after leading Adamson in beating FEU, 71-60. She had 18 points built on six three-pointers on top of four steals. The Lady Falcons snapped their three-game losing skid for a cheerful exit in their campaign.

4. Bernice Paraiso - De La Salle Green Archers

Paraiso found the bullseye in La Salle's final game of the season, as they struck down the UE Lady Warriors, 58-45. She finished with a laudable double-double of 14 points and 18 rebounds. She will be an integral piece for the Green Archers next year, as the roster remains practically intact.

3. Eka Soriano - UST Growling Tigresses

The reigning MVP's numbers dipped this season with UST finding a more balanced system. It has worked wonders, as the Growling Tigers snagged the second seed in the Final Four. But Soriano showed in their 80-68 win over Ateneo that she's still fire with 14 points, 11 dimes, and three steals.

2. Nikki Villasin - UST Growling Tigresses

Soriano's teammate had a career-best 20 points in their dismantling of Ateneo. Villasin also added two rebounds, two assists, and two steals, showing she could be the squad's spark plug in the Final Four. If the Chicago native can keep it up, UST's bite will be even more dangerous.

1. Gypsy Canuto - NU Lady Bulldogs

It seems the top-seeded Bulldogs have 45,781 weapons in their yard with the number of players who have shone this season. Last Saturday, it was Canuto who starred in their 81-59 annihilation of UP with 16 points and six rebounds, as NU closed the elimination round with 11 straight victories.