Batang Gilas Kai Sotto emerged on top of the MVP race again after the first round of the 81st University Athletic Association of the Philippines Juniors Basketball Tournament.
The 7’1” Sotto, who was the Finals MVP last season when the Ateneo Blue Eaglets won the crown, averaged 25.3 points, 12.7 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, and 2.7 assists, after seven games in the first round.
In becoming the tournament’s best scorer, rebounder and blocker, Sotto amassed 93.3 statistical points (SPs).
Mark Nonoy of University of Santo Tomas is no. 2 with 70.9 points, with averages of 18.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.7 steals also impressive especially for a first-year player.
Ateneo’s Forthsky Padrigao with 70.0 SPs is in close third followed by Far Eastern University-Diliman’s RJ Abarrientos, Adamson High School’s revelation at forward in AP Manlapaz, and Nazareth School of National University’s versatile big man Carl Tamayo.
Meanwhile, the NSNU Bullpups upset the Blue Eaglets, 78-62, last Saturday at the end of the first round at the Blue Eagle gym, with Gerry Abadiano and Terrence Fortea showing the way with 17 and 16 points.
The Bullpups took advantage of the Blue Eaglets’ foul trouble in the third period, with Fortea and Abadiano tallying nine and seven points in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
This allowed the Bullpups to grab the solo lead with their 6th win in seven outings, while the Blue Eaglets dropped to a share of second place with FEU and Adamson.
Two charities from Harold Alarcon in the last 2:21 of the third touched off a decisive 11-0 run.
The Bullpups then took control off Tamayo’s undergoal basket, 61-49, in the final 21 seconds.
Earlier, the Adamson Baby Falcons, behind Adrian Manlapaz with a career-high 18 points, smothered La Salle Zobel, 72-57, while JB Sajonia led with 12 points for FEU-Diliman in beating the UST Tiger Cubs, 63-37.
Leo Almacen banged in 29 points for the University of the East Junior Warriors (1-6) in their 74-72 triumph over winless University of the Philippines Integrated School.