Impact Rookies of UAAP Season 76

Whew that was extensive.

Now we’re down to the top 16 players who I think will really make an impact in the upcoming UAAP wars. Why them? Well let’s just say they are the players or the type of players that these teams really need.

16. Carmel Saga (DLSU) – 5’5 setter/libero

With Mika Esperanza’s injury (I don’t how long) and the loss of Liss Gohing, Carmel’s entry to the team is very timely. Carmel Saga has very good floor defense and like Liss Gohing, can really shout to her teammates for reception or digging. As a setter, she plays exactly like Mika Esperanza with her tosses to the middles and outsides. Whether she will play as a libero or setter, she will definitely be an asset.

15. Nika Ong (UP) – 5’7 middle blocker

Nika Ong’s powerful quicks will be a major weapon for the Lady Maroons next season. Given good sets and connection with the setter, she can drill those quicks and can block well. One advantage she has among others is that she is going to play under the same coach in high school, so more or less, she knows the system or she knows what to do in games.

14. Monica Ortiz (UP) – 5’7 opposite/outside hitter

Her smart wing hitting will definitely help the Lady Maroons in the UAAP. She doesn’t only have power but she has the smarts to play the game. Her blocking and serving are also worth mentioning. Just last Palaro she led the NCR team in scoring in two games. And she had teammates who are also good. Monica Ortiz can definitely provide the wing spark that UP needs.

13. Kath Barrinuevo (FEU) – 5’9 middle blocker

Powerful quick hits are what she can bring to the table. I don’t like to compare people but with the entry of Barrinuevo, she can just be FEU’s best middle blocker this season. It will also help that FEU has a very good setter in Gyzel Sy so she won’t have a hard time adjusting in college play. Her blocking and serving will also be crucial and will be a good asset for FEU.

12. Sheeka Espinosa (UP) – 5’9 outside hitter

She is a solid outside hitter. If there’s one player I was really impressed in the Northern Mindanao team last Palarong Pambansa, it has got to be her. She has all the skills; blocking, spiking, serving and floor defense. Of course her big asset would be her height. She will definitely be an impact player for UP this year. And oh, she looks like Ara Galang.

11. Jhoana Maraguinot (ADMU) – 5’7 outside hitter

Well, everyone knows she is a power hitter and a smart attacker but what they don’t know is that she has very good floor defense. Back when I was still watching her in high school and even in college, I’d see how much she leads her team well in receiving and digging. Her serving is also one skill to look forward to. She’d be one of those who’d stay in the service area for a long time. I’m quite sure she and a lot of fans are anticipating her play in the UAAP; they waited one year for this. And the exit of Fille Cainglet made it very timely for her.

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