FAR EASTERN University forward Mac Belo emerged as the biggest winner in the 10th edition of the Collegiate Basketball Awards held last Tuesday (January 26) at Kamayan-EDSA. The 6’4” proud son of Cotabato beat out his more illustrious contemporaries to bring home the Smart Collegiate Player of the Year honor.
Belo played a major role in ending his school’s 10-year UAAP title drought which the Tamaraws followed up with a share of the PCCL National Championship with San Beda College. Joining him in the Collegiate Mythica Five were reigning NCAA MVP, Defensive Player and Rookie of the Year Allwell Oraeme of Mapua Institute of Technology, last season’s NCAA MVP Earl Scottie Thompson of University of Perpetual Help System-Dalta, current UAAP MVP Kiefer Ravena of Ateneo de Manila and Kevin Ferrer of University of Santo Tomas.
More players and personalities from FEU and NCAA champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran dominated the proceedings. Coaches Nash Racela and Aldin Ayo were both named as Coach of the Year for steering their respective teams to the championship.
FEU’s Mike Tolomia earned the UAAP Super Senior award while his backcourt partner Roger Pogoy was cited as UAAP Pivotal Player. Letran’s Kevin Racal took the NCAA Pivotal Player while Mark Cruz shared the NCAA Super Senior award with Baser Amer of San Beda College.
Also given out was the Impact Player which went to UST’s Ed Daquioag for the UAAP and San Beda’s Art de la Cruz for the NCAA. Other special awards went to Jiovani Jalalon of Arellano University as Accel Court General and Jeron Teng of De La Salle University as the Gatorade Energy Player.
A special Lifetime Achievement award was given to the venerable coach Januario “Aric” del Rosario who is best remembered for engineering the four straight UAAP titles of UST from 1993 to 1996 and for restoring the Perpetual Help program to respectability until his retirement after the 2015 NCAA campaign. Unfortunately, Coach del Rosario was in sickbay so he sent his son Lester to receive the trophy.
Thompson, Racal, Cruz, Amer and de la Cruz are now enjoying their rookie seasons as PBA professionals. For sure, Belo and the other awardees will follow suit in the coming years as the next batch of basketball superstars.
The night was a fitting ending to another season of intense collegiate basketball wars. For a brief moment, rivalries on the court were set aside as everyone engaged in non-stop partying until the next season tips off in about six months time.