10. Alex Nuyles lifts Falcons
While buzz centered on the hot, young rookies of the court, Coach Leo Austria and the rest of the Adamson University Soaring Falcons banked on experience. Lester Alvarez, Eric Camson and Bicolano-hotshot Alex Nuyles were the ever-reliables who elbowed Adamson to the Final Four. Although the team failed short of facing Ateneo in the Finals when they squandered a twice-to-beat advantage to FEU, Nuyles's high-flying moves and on-court leadership earned him a slot in the UAAP Mythical Five.
9. UE pulls rug from under NU
The post-Paul Lee-era UE Red Warriors may be the most lackluster team the UAAP has seen in years, landing near bottom this season. But, they spooked the undefeated Ateneo with a relentless, 40-minute fight on court. They silenced critics with a 72-71 first win against the retooled National University squad, thanks to Paul Zamar and Biboy Enguio who connived for 39 points. Although NU creamed them in their outing, 91-51, UE's win allowed the team a slot in sixth place, a rung above the bottom-dwelling UP Fighting Maroons.
8. 'The Jet' launches for UP
From 0.5 points per outing last season to averaging 10.5 points this year , Jett Manuel deserves Season 74's Most Improved Player plum. The 6-foot 1-inch sweet-shooting guard for the UP Fighting Maroons also provided four rebounds and two assists per game.
7. UST: from pretender to contender
The University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, always overlooked when talk strayed to the Final Four, finally showed their stripes. The two Jerics—Fortuna and Teng—provided the muscle and Cameroonian rookie Karim Abdul found his groove approaching the playoffs. With Coach Pido Jarencio at the helm, UST made the Final Four again. While they folded in the semis under the four-peat seeking Ateneo Blue Eagles, the Tigers leveled the playing field going into Season 75.
6. UP breaks its 99-week losing streak
Winless since 2009, the UP Fighting Maroons surprised all by beating the UE Red Warriors, 69-61, on July 14. Mike Gamboa finished off UE with 19 points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals. Together, Mike Silungan and Jett Manuel made 28 points. Unfortunately, UP couldn't sustain the momentum and ended last at the end of the eliminations.
5. La Salle's downward spiral
Even with the return of spitfire pointguard LA Revilla, the De La Salle University Green Archers' aim was so far off, they won only five of 14 games this season. For shame, the Taft-based squad finished third from the bottom.
4. Pumaren calls it quits
The biggest non-surprise this season was Coach Dindo Pumaren's resignation last September 15 following De La Salle University's miserable showing. The new question is, who's taking over as coach?
3. Salva steps out of the shadows
With the spotlight trained on Ateneo's phenomenal newcomers Kiefer Ravena and Greg Slaughter, Nico Salva muscled his way from the shadows to form an unstoppable trio. Salva capped his best year yet in their Finals showdown with FEU as he went for a perfect 16-of-16 shooting in Game 1. He finished the game with a career-high 24 points. He then scored 15 points on top of five rebounds and two assists in Game 2 to be awarded UAAP Season 74 Finals Most Valuable Player.
2. Adamson spoils Ateneo sweep
Just when Ateneo thought they'd end the season with 14 wins and no losses, the Adamson Falcons foiled their plans during the eliminations. Adamson hotshot Alex Nuyles poured in 13 of his 21 points in the third quarter to lead an Adamson breakaway that caught Ateneo flat-footed. The win made waves and showed that yes, the Blue Eagles could be taken down.
1. FEU's dramatic Final Four comeback
Sluggish in the beginning of Season 74, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws barely made the cut as Final Four. But, the Tams stunned the Adamson Falcons who were enjoying a twice-to-beat advantage. FEU's RR Garcia, Terrence Romeo, Aldrech Ramos, and Russell Escoto peaked at the right time to subdue a never-say-die Adamson squad. They entered the Finals via a 78-74 decision. While FEU failed to snatch the trophy from the now four-time defending champs Ateneo (the team everyone expected to win the season), the Tamaraws established themselves as perennial contenders for the UAAP crown and a squad capable of spoiling a five-peat in the making.