The Annual #BallerAwards: The Best Collegiate Players of 2014

In lieu of a year-ender, I felt it would be better to go position-by-position and look at the best ballers of 2014. 

In this post, I will talk about the guys who did really well in the collegiate circuit (UAAP or NCAA). Perhaps they led their teams to league titles. Perhaps they led their respective leagues in a certain statistical category. Perhaps they made history. Perhaps they did all of those things.

The best of college hoops from 2014!

Best UAAP/NCAA Center and Best UAAP/NCAA Import of 2014: Ola Adeogun (San Beda Red Lions)
- How does one quantify the value of an Ola Adeogun? How about this — #5 in scoring, #2 in rebounding, and #1 in shot-blocking for Season 90 of the NCAA? Or maybe the fact he led the Red Lions to titles in BOTH the NCAA and the PCCL, beating powerhouse teams like the De La Salle Green Archers and the #UAAP77 champs, the NU Bulldogs? What the heck, how about all of them? Ola has been so good for so long I’m tempted to say he’s the best import to ever play in the NCAA (sorry, Mr. Ekwe). I’d go so far as to say that if I were a congressman, I’d author a bill to naturalize this guy just so we have an awesome just-in-case reserve for Gilas.

Best UAAP/NCAA Power Forward and UAAP/NCAA Breakthrough Player of 2014: Troy Rosario (NU Bulldogs)
- After a bit of a regression in his second season in the UAAP, Rosario came into his own in Season 77, putting up around 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. The former RP-Youth kid has the handles, the hops, and the perimeter touch to be a taller, maybe better, future version of, wait for it, Ranidel De Ocampo. Oh, of course, he also helped lead NU to its first UAAP Men’s Basketball title in SIXTY YEARS.

Best UAAP/NCAA Small Forward of 2014: Mac Belo (FEU Tamaraws)
- I remember shaking my head when I found out Mac Belo was part of the 2013 SEA Games team. I honestly didn’t think he was deserving, but, hell, I’m always wrong anyway. The truth is Belo has been crazy hella good. Belo has nearly doubled his scoring from last season, he hit nearly a three a game, and was a top-level two-way player. This early, a lot of people already feel he’s pro-ready, and all I can say is I won’t be shaking my head at that notion.

Best UAAP/NCAA Shooting Guard of 2014: Kiefer Ravena (Ateneo Blue Eagles)
- After the injury-ridden hiccup that was Season 76, the Phenom returned to the top tier in Season 77 with aplomb. I mean, just look at the list of accolades he earned in the UAAP — Fast Fizz Player of the Season, Jollibee Champ of the Season, Master Gameface Player of the Season, RCBC Life Changing Player of the Season, PS Bankable Player of the Season, Press Corps College Basketball Player of the Year, and UAAP Season MVP. And, if rumors are to be believed, a certain pro team is willing to part with its top player for a chance to get Kiefer in the 2015 PBA Draft. C R A Z Y.

Best UAAP/NCAA Point Guard of 2014: Baser Amer (San Beda Red Lions)
- Amer was great this past NCAA season, putting up around 12 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, and 2 treys per outing. He helped carry the Red Lions to their eighth NCAA title in the last nine years, scoring 17 points in the clincher against Arellano U. He also helped San Beda to its first PCCL crown, dropping 14 markers and 4 dimes as the Mendiola quintet defeated the DLSU Green Archers. Man, I cannot wait to see this kid level up to the pros. 

Best UAAP/NCAA Newcomer of 2014: Alfred Aroga (NU Bulldogs)
- A lot of UAAP fans felt the Bulldogs became vulnerable after losing both Ray Parks and Emmanuel Mbe, but reality offered a completely different picture. The Bulldogs, after losing their top two guys, in an ironic twist, actually copped the UAAP crown, and that feat was achieved in a big way because of Alfred Aroga. Despite being in just his first season, the Cameroonian dominant in most games, while stepping up big time when it counted the most. I mean, he got better and better for NU as each round passed. And, well, he’ll stay for quite a bit more time in an NU jersey.

Best UAAP/NCAA Coach of 2014:Eric Altamirano (NU Bulldogs)
- It took a long time, but the title was definitely worth it for Coach E. He and his wards had to go through a gauntlet of heartbreaks and disappointments just to get to this point, but, wow, he was able to achieve with these Bulldogs something nobody was able to do in six decades. If that doesn’t make him deserving, then I don’t know what will.

In our next post, we’ll look at the best PBA players from 2014.

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