(Photos by Jocas Lozada and Alex Alferez/Sports Gateway PH)
The careers of San Beda’s Baser Amer, Letran’s Mark Cruz and Far Eastern University’s Mike Tolomia get due recognition when the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps and Smart Sports present the Collegiate Basketball Awards on Jan. 26 at Saisaki-Kamayan in Greenhills.
Amer, Cruz and Tolomia will receive the Super Senior awards from the group of scribes from national dailies and online portals covering the collegiate basketball beat for their impressive resumes during their five-year careers.
Despite failing to help San Beda capture the NCAA’s first-ever six-peat this season, Amer had a decorated stint in Mendiola where he won four straight titles from his rookie season in 2011 to 2014.
He recovered from a shoulder injury in time to send the Red Lions to their 10th straight finals appearance before losing to archrival Letran in three games.
While Amer collected numerous championships, Cruz and Tolomia made sure they would end their varsity careers in style as Letran and FEU won their first title since 2005.
Nicknamed “The Ant Man”, the 5-foot-5 Cruz defied all odds with a series of memorable performances to lead underdog Letran to its 17th NCAA title while being named Finals MVP.
Tolomia, meanwhile, stepped up in games that mattered as the Tamaraws ended 10 years of frustration by beating University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP finals for their 20th crown.
Joining Amer, Cruz and Tolomia as awardees are FEU’s Nash Racela and Aldin Ayo, the former Letran mentor now with La Salle, who will both receive the top coaching honors after steering their teams to the championship.
Also feted are FEU’s Roger Pogoy and Letran’s Kevin Racal, who will share the Pivotal Player award.
The UAAP-NCAA Press Corps will also recognize other top performers, including the Smart Player of the Year and the Collegiate Mythical Five.