10 New #NCAAStrong Heroes


In basketball, heroes come and heroes go. As for the country’s oldest collegiate league, new heroes always emerge to continue NCAA’s trademark all-out, action-packed brand of basketball.

This season, which fans can watch on S+A, S+A HD, and sports.abs-cbn.com, 10 names have risen in the ranks as the league’s future superstars. They are the new breed of heroes that kids with basketball dreams can look up to. They are the student-athletes that will keep the NCAA’s winning streak, which is currently at an amazing 93 years.

Here are 10 players who are slowly making names for themselves in this #NCAAStrong Season 93, and will be the foundations of the league in the years to come.

1.) Jaycee Marcelino, Lyceum of the Philippines University 

Photo credit: Arvin Lim, sports.abs-cbn.com

Marcelino came out of nowhere for the league-leading LPU Pirates, as part of an attack that includes leading MVP candidate CJ Perez, Mike Nzeusseu, and Jesper Ayaay. The other half of the Marcelino twins has been the team’s second-leading scorer with an average of 11.4 points a game, and ranks fourth in the team in rebounding, with 5.3 an outing. Even with the eventual graduation of Perez at the end of the season, Pirates fans can expect greater things to come from Jaycee and his twin Jayvee in the years to come.

2.) Clint Doliguez, San Beda Red Lions

Photo credit: Arvin Lim, sports.abs-cbn.com

When Doliguez transferred to San Beda, he was supposed to be a defensive specialist that should line up nicely next to Robert Bolick to shut down the perimeter. Playing alongside scorers like Bolick, Javee Mocon, and Davon Potts, his offense was unaccounted for in opposing teams’ scouting reports. Coach Boyet Fernandez definitely got more than what he bargained for with Doliguez able to shadow the opposing team’s best player and still be the Red Lions’ third leading scorer, norming 7.6 points a game with 3.8 rebounds for good measure.

3.) Jed Mendoza, Jose Rizal University

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The transfer from San Beda-Alabang has been quite a revelation for the Heavy Bombers and it couldn’t have come at a better time as they fight for a seat in the Final Four. Mendoza has been contributing 13.9 points a game with 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists to provide ample support for JRU star Tey Teodoro. He has ably stepped in the absence of Paolo Pontejos, who was Teodoro’s former back court partner.

4.) Jerrick Balanza, Colegio de San Juan de Letran

Photo credit: Richard Esguerra, sports.abs-cbn.com

The young forward for the Muralla-based squad has been on a nice bounce-back campaign after being riddled with inconsistency and injury last season. Balanza has displayed an increased feel for the game, cashing in mid-range jumpers and mixing it up with strong drives to the hoop. With the imminent departure of superstar Rey Nambatac next year, Letran fans can look forward to Balanza’s bigger role next year and probably an uptick to his current production of 10.8 points a game spiked with 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

5.) Jerome Garcia, Emilio Aguinaldo College

Photo credit: Arvin Lim, sports.abs-cbn.com

Garcia has been the key benefactor of the defensive attention being garnered by EAC stars Sidney Onwubere and Francis Munsayac. The swingman exploded for 20 first half points in a game this season already and is proving to be a great partner-in-crime for Onwubere as they are both versatile enough to play both forward spots. Garcia has truly found his home in Coach Ariel Sison’s squad with averages of 13.1 points and 4.2 rebounds a night to help his school earn their first trip to the post-season.

6.)  Kent Salado, Arellano University

Photo credit: Josh Albelda, sports.abs-cbn.com

Kent Salado has been flourishing without Jio Jalalon and that is only a sign of good things to come. Overshadowed by his much-celebrated backcourt partner, Salado was often overlooked by teams last year in their game plan. This year however, Kent has been magnificent in leading the Arellano Chiefs in scoring and assists. Salado has been quite a problem for opposing teams with his all around play that is seeing him average 19.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.4 steals in Season 93.

7.) Michael Calisaan, San Sebastian College-Recoletos

Calisaan is finally able to display the wares that truly make him a dangerous basketball player. Aside from being able to go hard on defense, Calisaan has been carrying the offensive load for the Stags this season as the hosts continue to build for the future. The veteran combo forward has been putting up 16.8 points and hauling down 8.3 rebounds in a great bounce-back year after missing quite some time.

8.) Unique Naboa, College of St. Benilde

Photo credit: Richard Esguerra, sports.abs-cbn.com

Besides having a very cool name, Naboa is simply hard to not notice with a game that’s made him one of the country’s hottest recruits last year. The La Salle Greenhills product looks to be the star of the future for Coach TY Tang as they look to add more pieces in the years to come. For the current season, this talented guard has been dependable at the point with an average stat line of 7.8 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.6 dimes in his rookie campaign.

9.) G-Jay Ylagan, University of Perpetual Help-System Dalta

Photo credit: Arvin Lim, sports.abs-cbn.com

While Prince Eze and Gab Dagangon continue to be the Altas’ main source of points and rebounds, G-Jay Ylagan has been making a good account of himself in his initial run in the league. The shooting guard out of Davao has been doing more than a defensive role that most pundits penciled him in coming into the season. With a hot hand from long distance, Ylagan is averaging 9.3 points a game plus 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists.

10.) Christian Bunag, Mapua University

Photo credit: Arvin Lim, sports.abs-cbn.com

The towering Bunag continues to be a fountain of hope in an otherwise trying season for the Mapua Cardinals. But big things look to be in store for the 6-foot-7 bigman who has been a pillar of strength underneath for the size-depraved Cards. He has been putting up a huge double-double job to the tune of 11.8 points and 12.2 rebounds to go along with 1.3 blocks per game to ease the departure of former Rookie of the Year-MVP Allwell Oraeme.

Catch them display #NCAAStrong on and off the court in the games and features aired on S+A, S+A HD, and via livestreaming on sports.abs-cbn.com every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. For more news and features, visit sports.abs-cbn.com or follow @ABSCBNSports on Twitter and Facebook.


Disclaimer: Stats cited are as of September 22, 2017

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