Following a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) finally opened its doors for Season 84 this April. While there are still lots of health restrictions in place, fans are just excited to root for their respective alma maters and reignite that sense of school spirit. Of course, that also includes cheering for your favorite student athletes!
As expected, we’ve already been seeing a lot of standout athletes so far. If you’re brushing up on your UAAP knowledge, we made a list of nine star athletes to watch for below!
9 Star Athletes We're Watching Out For This UAAP Comeback
1. Dani Ravena (Ateneo Lady Eagles)
Many may recognize Dani for her household last name, but she's a skilled athlete in her own right. In 2021, the 22-year-old became the very first libero to take captainship of any Filipino team. The year prior, she recorded 37 digs and 19 receptions to help her team win against the UST Golden Tigresses in UAAP Season 81.
2. Shaun Ildefonso (National University Bulldogs)
Last weekend, fans held their breath as Ateneo’s Dave Ildefonso played against his former NU Bulldogs team, which included his older brother Shaun. Although Ateneo ended up winning the match, the long-time champion nearly lost the game thanks to Shaun’s three rebounds and five points.
3. L-Jay Gonzales (Far Eastern University Tamaraws)
Despite sitting out FEU’s highly-anticipated opening game due to an ankle sprain, L-Jay still led his team against the UP Fighting Maroons last weekend. FEU may have suffered a narrow 83-76 loss, but the playmaker still managed to bag 20 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and one steal within the game’s first round.
4. Raffy Verano (Ateneo Blue Eagles)
After taking a year off to focus on academics, Raffy was completely ready to make an explosive comeback this season. Apart from contributing eight markers to Ateneo’s win against Adamson University, Raffy also posted 18 points, five rebounds, two assists, and one steal against UP last March.
5. Eya Laure (UST Golden Tigresses)
Hailing from a family of athletes, Eya is an exceptionally skilled athlete for her age. Multi-medalist UAAP title aside, the 23-year-old is also a member of the Philippine Women’s National Volleyball Team and the Cherry Tigo Crossovers.
6. Ricci Rivero (UP Fighting Maroons)
Ricci recently made headlines for asking Andrea Brillantes to be his girlfriend after his latest win, but the basketball star was already impressing the crowd even before his proposal. The former Gilas Pilipinas cadet tallied 10 points, six rebounds, and three assists to help his team secure their six-game winning streak.
7. Justine Baltazar (De La Salle Green Archers)
Having scored 20 points and 11 rebounds in a recent match against FEU, Justine is expected to be DLSU's playmaker in their highly-anticipated game against Ateneo. Now in his senior year of college, Justine reportedly turned down offers to play for Gilas Pilipinas to focus on his final collegiate season.
8. Jerom Lastismosa (Adamson Soaring Falcons)
Jerom led his team to victory over the University of the East two weeks ago, scoring 14 points, two rebounds, and two assists. While the Falcons didn't win their next game against UP, Jerom's 18 points and six rebounds definitely made the match a close fight.
9. Kyle Paranada (University of the East Red Warriors)
Although the University of the East is currently lagging behind on the scoreboard, one of its ballers, Fil-Am recruit Kyle Paranada, is proving to be a star player after leading the team in recent matches. Most recently, Kyle is the topscorer for his team during the game against the UST Tigers, securing 17 points for the Red Warriors.
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