Letran’s Kevin Racal and Far Eastern University’s (FEU) Roger Pogoy will be recognized for their heroics in the finals when the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP)-National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Press Corps and Smart Sports host the Collegiate Basketball Awards on Jan. 26 at the Saisaki-Kamayan in Greenhills.
The two members of the champion Knights and Tamaraws are set to receive the Pivotal Player awards from the group of scribes from national dailies and online portals covering the collegiate basketball beat.
Racal and Pogoy delivered in the pinnacle stage of the UAAP and NCAA seasons to help their teams end a 10-year title drought in their respective leagues.
Now playing for Alaska in the PBA, Racal ended his Letran career on a memorable note when he averaged 20 points in the thrilling finals victory over deposed champion San Beda in late October.
In that series, Racal erupted for 28 points in Game 1 before scoring 23 in the 85-82 overtime victory in the deciding third game that gave the Knights their 17th NCAA crown.
Pogoy, meanwhile, was one of FEU’s most consistent performers in the UAAP finals against University of Santo Tomas when he averaged 14.7 points.
The graduating forward capped off his UAAP career when his three-pointer with 1:27 remaining in the deciding third game put FEU up 61-60. The Tamaraws eventually won, 67-62, to capture the school’s 20th UAAP championship.
The Pivotal Player award is given to players who made significant impact for their teams in the championship series.
Past winners of the honor include Garvo Lanete, Ryan Buenafe, Dave Marcelo, Kirk Long, Art dela Cruz, Alfred Aroga and Anthony Semerad.
Joining Racal and Pogoy 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.
The UAAP-NCAA Press Corps will also recognize other top performers, including the Smart Player of the Year and the Collegiate Mythical Five.