lester alvarez

The Extra Pass - Top 5 Point Guards in UAAP Season 74

With the close of Season 74, I will attempt to give special mention to the players who stood out in the past season with my Players Rankings posts per position. Rankings were determined by statistics (whatever little I could get my hands on), positive team impact, and my personal opinion on the players based on past observations.

—Disclaimer: Photos used do not belong to me—

I’ll start with mentioning the position that’s crucial to the team’s execution, the court generals. Yes, we’re talking Point Guards!

5 - LA Revilla

Revilla was known as the comeback kid last season, after taking time off to address health issues, and was both the play-making and emotional leader of the Green Archers. He showed flashes of brilliance at times, having the complete offensive arsenal of quickness, shooting, and passing. He also reads the passing lanes well being one of the league’s steals leaders, averaging 1.6 per game. However he also had stretches of inconsistency which pretty much characterized DLSU’s season. There are times he forces up difficult shots against expectant defenses; he needs to learn to pick his spots better. He is a good perimeter defender, but his steals numbers may be buffed up by the fact that the La Salle press creates those opportunities for him, and he likes to gamble on defense. Still his effort, along with topping 3rd in assists per game with 3.6, is good enough to earn him the 5th spot in my Point Guard rankings. Scary part about this guy is that he has the potential to catapult up to the number 2 spot next season, and maybe (although probably ambitious) challenge the current best PG in the UAAP for the number 1 rank. 

4- Lester Alvarez

I probably would have ranked Alvarez higher if he didn’t play such a central role in Adamson’s Final Four flameout to FEU, at the same time I might have ranked him lower than Revilla had Adamson not had a much more successful season compared to DLSU. Still it is undeniable that he helped lead his team to their best ever UAAP standing at 10-4; good enough to earn them the number 2 seed in the Final Four. Statistically, the only category he broke into the top 5 of was steals; joining Revilla and Monfort as the leaders for that stat with 1.6 per game. A major critique I have of his game is that he sometimes destroys the fluidity of the Falcons ball movement by jacking up ill-advised threes. Still the very fact that Alvarez was able to wrench the starting gig (and majority of the minutes) from a formidable player like Canada speaks volumes. Alvarez is a streaky outside shooter, and once he gets going, there’s nothing the opposing defense can do except hope for an unfriendly bounce on the rim.

3- Jeric Fortuna

The Espana based sniper is one of the most well rounded players in the UAAP. He finished 5th best in 3 statistical rankings, with an impressive line of 14.1 ppg, 3.2 asts, and 1.3 spg. He fits well into coach Pido Jarencio’s run and gun system, with his long range and sweet jumpshot. Often overshadowed by his namesake backcourt partner, he silently runs the high-octane motor of the Growling Tigers offense. He helped guide the team to an unexpected Final Four berth, but continued to struggle against the defense of the man who takes the number 2 slot in my rankings, unable to carry his squad over the eventual champs in the semis.

2- Emman Monfort

Next up is none other than Ateneo’s court general, Emman Monfort. He leads all players in arguably the most important stat for a Point Guard, by averaging 4.2 assists per game. He is also the third of the triumvirate of steals leaders (Revilla and Alvarez being the two others) with 1.6 per game. But what isn’t registered in the stat sheet is the pesky defense he inflicts on his marked man. On offense, his presence allows the Eagles to stretch the floor for the Ateneo bigs to operate inside, because it’s a bad gamble to leave him open beyond the 3-point line. He brings other intangibles to his team, like effectively drawing those ticky tacky fouls and getting into the heads of the opposing players (and supporters!). Most importantly he is able to effectively execute the game plan of coach Norman Black, and by helping lead the Eagles to their 4th consecutive championship, he gets the nod at number 2.

1- RR Garcia

Garcia’s fall from grace, from winning the MVP last year to not getting into the Mythical Five this year, does not hinder him from taking the number 1 rank in my Point Guard category, simply because he is the most talented Point Guard in the UAAP at present with his combination of skills, smarts, and guts. Although the only stat he breaks into the top 5 of is scoring, ranking second overall in that stat by averaging 16.4 a game, let me ask you a question: if you had to select one of the above mentioned Point Guards to build your team around who would you pick? Garcia can take over games single-handedly, and can just be plain unstoppable on offense with his array of perimeter moves. He is also a good passer and if not for FEU’s tendency to play one-on-one offense, he could easily average more assists in a better ball sharing system. Although he is not immune from that sickness of jacking up long threes, his postives easily outweigh his negatives. He led the Tams to two consecutive Finals appearances, and looks to hold his rank at this position next year.

Next week look out for The Extra Pass - Top 5 Shooting Guard rankings! Can the ROY Kiefer Ravena grab the number 1 rank? Or will better established vets like Alex Nuyles and Jeric Teng have something to say about that?