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UAAP fetes exceptional athletes

Ben Mbala tops the list of athletes who took home awards from the UAAP, bagging the Men's Basketball season MVP Award, Mythical Five Selection, as well as several other awards from the sponspors of the league. Photo|Dennis Jerome Acosta

BY JP Abcede

QUEZON CITY--The UAAP handed out commendations to student-athletes who represented the country in international competitions, as well as the individual awardees of this season's basketball tournament, in between the second game of the men's and women's basketball finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Swimmer Jessie Khing Lacuna of Ateneo and paddler Ian Lariba of De La Salle were cited for their participation in this year's Summer Olympics. This was the second Olympics for the two-time MVP as he also competed at the 2012 Olympics held in London. Lariba, a two-time UAAP athlete of the year receipient, carried the flag in the opening ceremonies of the Rio Olympics in August.

Furthermore, UAAP student-athletes who participated at the ASEAN University Games 2016 in Singapore were also commended as they competed in basketball, volleyball, fencing, track and field, table tennis, and swimming.

The women's basketball tourney mythical team were also recognized, led by MVP Afril Bernardino of three-peat champs National Unversity, finals MVP Gemma Miranda of NU, teammate Jack Danielle Animan, as well as Mary Snow April Penarida of DLSU and Love Sto Domingo of University of the East.

Finally, the individual awardees in men's basketball were officially recognized as Green Archer Benoit Mbala Mendzana received a heap of trophies, taking home the MVP, mythical five, and a couple of sponsored awards. Joining him in the mythical squad are Jeron Teng (DLSU), Jeron Teng (DLSU), Ferdinand Ravena (ADMU), Raymar Jose (Far Eastern University), and Andres Paul Desiderio (University of the Philippines).

Aljun Melecio of the Taft-based squad took home the rookie of the year disctinction, while Blue Eagle Isaac Go accepted the sportsmanship and most improved player of the season recognitions.

Louie Vigil (University of Santo Tomas), Jerick Ahanmisi (Adamson University), Edson Batiller (UE), Christian Dave Moralde (UP), Rodolfo Alejandro III (NU), Anton Asistio (ADMU), and Prince Orizu (FEU) were also cited for their energy and hustle on the court.