Arwind ranks 2nd
By WAYLON GALVEZ
At least five players are vying for the coveted Most Valuable Player (MVP) award of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Rookie forward Calvin Abueva of Alaska, Petron Blaze’s wingman Arwind Santos, Talk ‘N Text guard Jayson Castro, playmaker Sol Mercado of Globalport and forward Ranidel de Ocampo of TNT are locked in a tight race to the finish for the MVP plum, which will be given after the regular season.
The 6-foot-1 Abueva leads all candidates with an overall average of 21.4 Statistical Points (SP) after coming through with 31.0 SP during the Philippine Cup and 29.9 SP in the Commissioner’s Cup, where he finished second in the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) derby behind winner LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
Abueva, selected No. 2 overall by the Aces in last year’s PBA Rookie Draft, is hoping to become the first freshman to win both the Rookie of the Year and MVP trophies after Benjie Paras did it in 1989.
Santos, a perennial contender either in the MVP or BPC race, is at No. 2 with 21.0 SP after tallying 35.1 and 23.2 in the first two conferences, followed by Castro the BPC winner in the Philippine Cup with 20.0 (31.1 and 25.2).
Because of their BPC wins, both Castro and Tenorio, teammates with the silver medal winning Gilas Pilipinas during the FIBA Asia Championship here recently, are automatic candidates as only five players will make it to the official ballot for the MVP.
Castro was named to the Mythical Team of the Asian championship.
Mercado and De Ocampo, who also played for the national team, are at fourth and fifth with 19.4 SP (30.3 and 24.2) and 19.1 SP (30.3 and 23.4), respectively. Reigning MVP Mark Caguioa of Ginebra is at No. 6 with 18.9 SP (27.7 and 26.2).
Completing the Top 10 are JV Casio of Alaska (26.1/27.7 18.8 SP), Tenorio (24.9/27.5 18.2 SP), Alaska’s Cyrus Baguio (26.7/24.9 18.1 SP), and another national team members Marc Pingris of San Mig Coffee (26.9/23.1 17.694 SP).
Other notable players in the Top 20 are former MVPs James Yap of San Mig with 17.6 SP (28.3 and 21.0), and TNT’s Jimmy Alapag 16.4 SP (25.5 and 20.5).
Abueva also leads in the Rookie of the Year race, followed by Petron’s June Mar Fajardo with 16.3 SP (23.9 and 22.5), followed by Meralco’s Cliff Hodge with 15.1 SP (24.6 and 17.5), Ginebra’s Chris Ellis with 13.5 SP (20.4 and 18.0), and Meralco’s Vic Manuel with 10.2 SP ( 16.4 and 12.1).
The SPs of players will account for 40 percent in the all-Filipino conference, 30 percent in the Commissioner’s Cup and 30 percent at the end of the Governors’ Cup. In the overall tabulation, 40 percent will come from SPs, while 70 percent will come from votes by media (30%), players (25%) and the PBA Commissioner’s Office (5%).