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In Your Face!

Gameface Hardcore Players of the Year 2013

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With both of the major college seasons now done (thanks a bunch, NCAA) we come to that time of the year when declares the amateur players who shone the most throughout the hardcore hoops calendar. For this edition we will include players from the UAAP, the NCAA and the PBA D-League. Just to be clear: Although stats and wins played an important part in the selection process, there is a player or two who might not have figured in the Top 10 statistical points and player efficiency ratings but who still made it due to hardcore cred. If anything, perhaps the simplest way to put it is that the guys who made it here are the guys without who their respective teams surely would have become mere scrimmage fodder.

UAAP ___

Roi Sumang, 5'8" 155 pounds, Pointguard, University of the East

Sumang played like an MVP as far back as the summer preseason leagues. When he was on the floor for UE the Warriors played like contenders. Anytime he had to sit the UE game was going nowhere. That he somehow manufactured assists with the teammates he has is a tribute to his game brilliance.

Charles Mamie, 6'7" 260 pounds, Center, University of the East

As good as Sumang is the real reason UE was able to be as competitive as they were in Season 76 is the powerful Sierra Leone center Mamie. He had a few 20-rebound games even against the top UAAP frontlines and he managed to still lead in player efficiency ratings even though he missed two games due to suspension. He was the rightful MVP for this season.

Chris Newsome, 6'2" 185 pounds, Swingman, Ateneo De Manila

Speaking of staying competitive, Newsome was the main reason erstwhile 5-Peat champion Ateneo was even in the picture throughout Season 76. Without his athletic ability and rebounds the Blue Eagles would have been given up for dead. He even managed to become a Top 10 player even while playing out of position as the team's nominal power forward.

Ray Parks, 6'3" 200 pounds, Swingman, National University

Parks might have had a nightmare of an ending to his Season 76 (losing to UST in the Final 4 in spite of a twice-to-beat advantage) but he still managed to finish second in overall player efficiency. He is the main reason NU was touted as a contender this season, and his return for next season assures the Bulldogs remain a top team.

Karim Abdul, 6'5" 220 pounds, Center, University of Santo Tomas

Take anybody else off the UST roster and the Tigers might still have found a way into the Final 4 at least. They did after all manage not to miss Jeric Fortuna too badly, as they returned to the Finals. It was the bull-strong Abdul however who provided an anchor for his team by averaging over 16 points and 12 rebounds and providing an inside presence.

NCAA ___

Raymund Almazan, 6'8" 225 pounds, Center, Letran College

Almazan has come a long way from just another tall kid with barely any real skill on the Letran B Team four and a half years ago. Now he finishes his college career MVP of the NCAA and ready to move on to the pros.

Ola Adeogun, 6'8" 235 pounds, Center, San Beda College

Without a doubt the one and only reason the Red Lions were still touted as the dominant team of the NCAA, Adeogun was named to the Mythical 5 of Season 89 and continues to provide an unmatched presence in the lane.

Nosa Omorogbe, 6'1" 190 pounds, Swingman, Perpetual Help University

Last year he was just another import firing away from all angles. This year he expanded his overall game and kept his Altas ahead of the pack throughout the early goings of a long season. If he were any taller he'd be the best import in the league.

Junric Baloria, 5'9" 160 pounds, Guard, Perpetual Help University

When commentators and coaches alike disdain a player for being merely a scorer they seem to be missing the whole point of the game. Baloria came in firing as early as the summer preseason tournaments, and he never stopped firing. His teammate Harold Arboleda filled up entire stat sheets but it was Baloria's gunnery that allowed the Altas to really compete.

Noube Happi, 6'6" 225 pounds, Emilio Aguinaldo College

It is his second straight year in the Mythical 5 and his team was in the Final 4 picture all the way up to the last couple of days in the regular season. Happi provided much-needed size and insurance inside for the Generals.


Eliud Poligrates, 5'10" 165 pounds, Guard, Cagayan Rising Suns

Disgraced in his native Cebu for allegations of impropriety relating to the game, Poligrates emerged as a star in the D League. His Rising Suns created waves in the league and he was the one primarily responsible for stirring it.

Greg Slaughter, 6'11" 255 pounds, Center, NLEX Road Warriors

He's the biggest player in the league and arguably the main reason NLEX remained a fearsome team in the last Foundation Cup. Sure they were upset by Blackwater, but no one ever discounts his towering presence on the court, period.

Terrence Romeo, 5'9" 150 pounds, Pointguard, Big Chill

A gunner to the core, Romeo took the ball in his hands and led Big Chill all the way to the Final 4. He gave NLEX all it could handle and never shied away from a shot, even while the entire NLEX defense was keyed on him.

Allan Mangahas, 5'10" 155 pounds, Pointguard, Blackwater Elite

He completely outplayed the more ballyhooed guards of NLEX in the Finals and proved that craftiness and patience have their place in the game. Mangahas has bounced around the hoops circuit and has yet to find a home, but he sure shone in the Foundation Cup.

Justin Chua, 6'5" 230 pounds, Center, Blackwater Elite

A highly-touted recruit who became a career backup throughout his college career, Chua saved his best for last. In the Foundation Cup Finals he took his teammate - and the starter his last two years with the Ateneo - to school. His steady jumpshooting drew out Slaughter and made things easier for his Elite teammates.
Philippine Basketball


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