Let’s Try to Fix The UAAP MVP Race

Yesterday, October 30, 2022, the UAAP released a statistical summary, detailing the first round of action for Season 85. At the bottom of the report was a table listing down the Statistical Points race in the league. It came out with these eleven players on top.

  1. Schonny Winston
  2. JD Cagulangan
  3. Forthsky Padrigao
  4. Evan Nelle
  5. Carl Tamayo
  6. Ange Kouame
  7. Luis Villegas
  8. Jerom Lastimosa
  9. Dave Ildefonso
  10. Malick Diouf
  11. Kyle Paranada

It came as a surprise for many to see three point guards in the top five. Last season, the Mythical Five was littered with bigs, so what happened? Turns out, there was a change in the formula used for the MVP Race. Long story short, assists and steals were given extra importance as compared to previous years.

Fans have longed for change with the formula used for the MVP Race, but this move felt like a massive over-correction by the league. While bigs are no longer rewarded for rebounding the ball a lot, guards are rewarded far too much for dishing out assists and stealing the ball. There was no step forward with this move. One may argue it was even a step backward.

We can’t really do much about it, we aren’t the league’s board of managing directors. What we are, however, are mamarus. What we are, are hot take artists (responsible ones, at least we try!). So we’ll act like mamarus and make hot takes by making our own formula for the MVP Race!

Let’s try to fix the UAAP MVP Race, shall we?

The Formula 

We’re going to treat this like grading a student for his class, because of course! The actual formula is quite easy to do. The rationale behind it is where things get a bit tricky.

SP (Statistical Points) Grade (50%) + Team Value Grade (30%) + League Value Grade (20%) = HB MVP Grade

Let’s break down each part.

SP (Statistical Points) Grade (50%)

This is essentially the current SP of the player divided by 85 (because Season 85! Right?). We do this so we get a grade for each player that’s within 0-100. Why are we allotting 50 percent of the grade to this? Well, we have to respect the current formula somehow, so let’s give it half of the grade.

Now, we get to the fun part.

Team Value Grade (30%)

In short, when it comes to how the team runs, just how important is this player? If you take this person out of the team, or if this player has a bad game, how low do they go? You could even go as far as to call it the “2016-2017 Russell Westbrook” grade.

League Value Grade (20%)

You could call this the “Unique Selling Proposition” grade. Just how different is a player relative to the players he shares positions with? Does he bring anything unique to the table that his team could use to win? For instance, if we were grading Ben Mbala in Season 80, he might just be a 100.

For your reference, these are how I categorized per numerical grade I gave out for this exercise. If you have any disagreements with how this was done, then good, there’s a reason why I don’t teach for a living. This is purely just for fun.

Letter GradeNumerical Grade
A+99-100
A93-98
B+87-92
B80-86
C+74-79
C67-73
D60-66
F59 below

Before we start with the rankings, let’s lay down some ground rules, shall we?

  1. We’ll only limit this list to the top 10 players in the statistical race. I don’t have time to rank all players in the league for his exercise, I apologize.
  2. To qualify for the top 10, a player should have played at least 4 out of 7 regular season games. Sorry, JD Cagulangan.
  3. For the League Value Grade, I made sure players of the same position weren’t categorized under the same letter grade. For example, if Ben Mbala and Ange Kouame ever went up against each other for the MVP award, one would have received a grade in the A range, then the other would have settled for a B+. Where it balances out is with the specific numerical mark. I could give, say, Ben a 93 (technically an A!) but give Ange a 92 (technically a B+!).
  4. Again, this is just for fun. Don’t take things so seriously! Relaxation and hearts only. Chillax.

We’ll be giving quick summaries for the bottom 5 of this list, then do deeper dives for the upper 5. Alright, let’s begin!

10. Kyle Paranada, UE Red Warriors

 SP Grade (50%)Team Value Grade (30%)League Value Grade (20%)TOTAL
Kyle Paranada74.96887879.48

He’s been fiery for UE, but he takes a hit because of his overall value. Still fun though!

9. Malick Diouf, UP Fighting Maroons

 SP Grade (50%)Team Value Grade (30%)League Value Grade (20%)TOTAL
Malick Diouf77.82959285.81

I expected him to come out higher with the new formula, but being teammates with Carl Tamayo and having the same position as Ange Kouame pulled his grade down. He’s extremely underrated and my made up formula rates him low.

8. Dave Ildefonso, Ateneo Blue Eagles

 SP Grade (50%)Team Value Grade (30%)League Value Grade (20%)TOTAL
Dave Ildefonso79.83919586.22

He’s far and away the best small forward in the league, and he’s the Blue Eagles’ best creator on offense. He’d be higher on here if only he’s had a better season, but alas.

7. Forthsky Padrigao, Ateneo Blue Eagles

 SP Grade (50%)Team Value Grade (30%)League Value Grade (20%)TOTAL
Forthsky Padrigao90.08858387.14

It feels improper to talk about him in the context of basketball given everything that’s happened off of it. More than a game. So, no comment.

Disclaimer: Aforementioned off-court incidents did not affect his Team Value Grade and League Value Grade.

6. Evan Nelle, De La Salle Green Archers

 SP Grade (50%)Team Value Grade (30%)League Value Grade (20%)TOTAL
Evan Nelle86.59888987.49

Being teammates with Schonny Winston hurts him, and being in arguably the most loaded position in the UAAP also does not help. But don’t get things twisted, Evan has been tremendous this season.

Now, to the Top 5!

5. Luis Villegas, UE Red Warriors

 SP Grade (50%)Team Value Grade (30%)League Value Grade (20%)TOTAL
Luis Villegas82.86959188.13

Team Value Grade – If Villegas was not with the Red Warriors, UE might be closer to UST than the race for the Final Four slot. He has been that instrumental to what they do, and it’s only fitting his TVG ranks closely to the giants in the league. He is the glue that keeps the Red Warriors together.

League Value Grade – Carl Tamayo is clearly the league’s premier power forward, but Villegas isn’t that far behind. He makes up for his lack of offensive creation with a versatile skill set that would fit in any UAAP team. He would be a luxury to have as a second option of your team. He has everything needed to make your team win. He’s that good.

I was pleased to see Villegas rank this high with my silly formula. He deserves it. He’ll be a damn good pro after college and we should savor every minute we have of watching him play in the UAAP.

4. Jerom Lastimosa, Adamson Soaring Falcons

 SP Grade (50%)Team Value Grade (30%)League Value Grade (20%)TOTAL
Jerom Lastimosa81.011009489.30

Team Value Grade – You wanna talk about the “2016-2017 Russell Westbrook grade”? This was made for Jerom Lastimosa. Quite literally, without him, Adamson’s in absolute trouble. He has an argument for being the league’s best floor-raiser. It only felt proper to rate him as such, because he is THAT valuable to the Soaring Falcons.

League Value Grade – He’s been the best point guard in the league, but he hasn’t been significantly ahead of Evan Nelle. Again, playing in the deepest position in the league hurts you here. Jerom is excellent, but his competition happens to be really good as well.

The Team Value Grade definitely boosted Jerom’s grade by a lot, and you know what, he’s earned it. You could argue he should be lower and I wouldn’t mind.

3. Carl Tamayo, UP Fighting Maroons

 SP Grade (50%)Team Value Grade (30%)League Value Grade (20%)TOTAL
Carl Tamayo85.55929589.37

Team Value Grade – Believe it or not, he isn’t UP’s most valuable player. That goes to Malick Diouf, who isn’t only a superior defender, but a great passer as well who helps the UP offense. That’s not to say Carl isn’t important. He’s the team’s go-to player in the clutch, and he can be a singular offensive hub when need be. Honestly, it’s unfair UP even has those two in tow.

League Value Grade – He’s the clear-cut best power forward in the league, and his offense helps with this by a lot. He doesn’t exactly have the tools that screams Defensive Player of the Year, but he does just enough that he isn’t a training cone on D by any means.

Carl probably has the most balanced and least controversial grading sheet among the players in this list. He’s undoubtedly excellent, and it’s unfair he’s still in college basketball. He is THAT good.

2. Ange Kouame, Ateneo Blue Eagles

 SP Grade (50%)Team Value Grade (30%)League Value Grade (20%)TOTAL
Ange Kouame84.20979690.40

Team Value Grade – Ange is one of those players that basketball nerds might over-value. I’m a basketball nerd, so apologies if I may be over-valuing him. But man, he is THAT valuable to the Blue Eagles. Elite finishing and insane gravity pull when rolling to the rim, and defense that continues to be top of his class. Has he fallen off? A bit. Getting injured doesn’t help. But he’s unquestionably Ateneo’s MVP. It isn’t even close.

League Value Grade – There probably isn’t a better two-way player in the league than Ange Kouame. His sheer impact on both ends of the floor cannot be stated enough. He’s never been the next Ben Mbala, he’s always been the only Ange Kouame. An absolute force of nature.

If there’s a player who was affected the most by the new formula, it’s Ange. Tamayo over him? Acceptable. But Nelle and Padrigao being ranked higher than him? That’s unacceptable. He’s still a top 2 player in the league, and you could argue he shouldn’t be 2. But then…

1. Schonny Winston, De La Salle Green Archers

 SP Grade (50%)Team Value Grade (30%)League Value Grade (20%)TOTAL
Schonny Winston99.33959697.36

Team Value Grade – He isn’t La Salle’s best passer by any means. He might not even be their best pure creator. But boy, his sheer scoring ability makes him so important to La Salle’s championship hopes. If he’s not getting buckets, La Salle isn’t getting buckets. An oversimplification? Maybe. But it’s justified because Schonny has been THAT good for them.

League Value Grade – He’s the undisputed best shooting guard in the league. Granted, there isn’t much competition (aside from Nic Cabanero, but even then). Yet, even if you compare him to players from other positions, the value his scoring brings still cannot be stated enough.

He’s having the best non-Mbala season since Season 77 Kiefer Ravena. You could even argue he’s been better than MVP Kiefer Ravena this season. If we’re talking about this season alone, Schonny has been HIM. He deserves to be on top of the MVP Race, new formula or mamaru formula.

Overall

 SP Grade (50%)Team Value Grade (30%)League Value Grade (20%)TOTAL
Schonny Winston99.33959697.36
Forthsky Padrigao90.08858387.14
Evan Nelle86.59888987.49
Carl Tamayo85.55929589.37
Ange Kouame84.20979690.40
Luis Villegas82.86959188.13
Jerom Lastimosa81.011009489.30
Dave Ildefonso79.83919586.22
Malick Diouf77.82959285.81
Kyle Paranada74.96887879.48
 UAAP Formula RankHB Mamaru Formula RankDifference
Schonny Winston110
Ange Kouame523 spots up
Carl Tamayo431 spot up
Jerom Lastimosa743 spots up
Luis Villegas651 spot up
Evan Nelle363 spots down
Forthsky Padrigao275 spots down
Dave Ildefonso880
Malick Diouf990
Kyle Paranada10100

Some takeaways…

  1. UAAP’s new formula really catered itself to guards who heavily dish out assists. I’m really not a fan of that, because there’s more to a point guard’s value than the sheer number of assists.
  2. The new formula really catered itself the most to Ange and Lastimosa, and maybe deservingly so. Those two bring insane value to their respective teams.
  3. Malick Diouf really should be higher. His poor SP dragged him down. If not for that, he’d be a Top 5 MVP candidate, easily.

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