THE STAGE is set as the Collegiate Press Corps (CPC) honors the brightest athletes and best coaches of the 2023-2024 athletic season in its Annual Awards Night presented by San Miguel Corp. on Monday at the Discovery Suites Manila in Ortigas, Pasig City.

This year’s awards night will recognize the stellar student-athletes of UAAP Season 86 and NCAA Season 99 with Collegiate Men’s Basketball Player of the Year Kevin Quiambao of De La Salle University headlining a total of 23 awardees.

Mr. Quiambao, the UAAP Season 86 Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Finals MVP, steered the Green Archers the to the UAAP men’s basketball throne to snap a seven-year title drought following a thrilling three-game series win against the University of the Philippines (UP).

Joining him is Kent Pastrana of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) as the inaugural recipient of the Collegiate Women’s Basketball Player of the Year in the ceremony also backed by the Philippine Sports Commission.

Ms. Pastrana, who was also named the Player of the Year for team events by the UAAP in the Season 86 closing ceremony, played a vital role in the Growling Tigresses’ stunning upset of seven-peat champion National University (NU) to end a 17-year title futility.

With Mr. Quiambao in the Men’s Mythical Five are NCAA are Rookie-MVP Clint Escamis of Mapua University, UP’s Malick Diouf, Lyceum of Philippines University’s Enoch Valdez and Jacob Cortez of San Beda University.

For the first time, the CPC will also have a Women’s Mythical Five including Ms. Pastrana and teammate Finals MVP Tantoy Ferrer, Far Eastern University’s Josee Kaputu, UP’s Favour Onoh, and Kacey dela Rosa of Ateneo de Manila University.

In just his first year as head coach, Topex Robinson was successful in calling the shots for De La Salle en route to the UAAP Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year honor while San Beda mentor Yuri Escueta is the NCAA counterpart after the Red Lions’ Season 99 championship win against Mapua.

Longtime UST coach Haydee Ong engineered the Growling Tigresses to topple the NU dynasty, making her the first-ever UAAP Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year in the event supported by Discovery Suites as official venue partner and Jockey as minor sponsor.

Leading the Lady Bulldogs to their second women’s volleyball championship in three years, the charismatic two-time league MVP Bella Belen earned her second UAAP Women’s Volleyball Player of the Year as graduating MVP setter Cloanne Mondonedo anchored College of St. Benilde to its third consecutive championship for the NCAA women’s Volleyball Player of the Year plum.

The CPC will also award the first-ever Men’s Volleyball Players of the Year to NU setter Owa Retamar from the UAAP and Perpetual spiker Louie Ramirez from the NCAA.

Also on spotlight are Perpetual coach Sammy Acaylar and Lady Blazers coach Jerry Yee as NCAA Coaches of the Year as both squads extended their dynasty in collegiate volleyball. — John Bryan Ulanday