By WAYLON GALVEZ
Manila, Philippines – For the past couple of years, Petron Blaze forward Arwind Santos had been a perennial contender for the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in the PBA, but has failed in his bid to bring home the coveted individual plum.
This 38th season of the pro league, he is in the lead again in the MVP race, although the versatile forward is in a neck-and-neck battle with two premiere guards of the PBA in Barangay Ginebra’s LA Tenorio and Talk ’N Text’s Jayson Castro.
The three players – all seeking their first MVP – emerged as the final candidates for the season MVP, which will be announced together with the other winners that the league will honor, tomorrow in the PBA Annual Leo Awards at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
In the last five seasons, the 6-foot-3 Santos had been a Mythical First Team member, from where the MVP was selected but lost to Ginebra’s Mark Caguioa (2012), TNT’s Jimmy Alapag (2011), James Yap of San Mig Coffee (2010), Ginebra’s Jayjay Helterbrand (2009) and Kelly Williams when he was still with the now-defunct Sta. Lucia Realty (2008).
As for Tenorio and Castro, this is the first time they are in serious contention for the Season MVP.
The three are actually automatic candidates after winning the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) awards, with Castro winning first during the Philippine Cup, Tenorio won it in the Commissioner’s Cup and Santos bagged the last one in the Governors’ Cup.
With the league using a format to trim down the nominees for the MVP trophy, Castro, Tenorio and Santos came out as the official candidates when the final ballot was released yesterday at the start of the voting process.
Santos topped the season’s Statistical Point average with 30.3 SPs, while Gilas Pilipinas teammates Tenorio and Castro have 28.1 SPs and 26.8 SPs, respectively.
The SP of a player will account for 40 percent, while the remaining 60 percent will come from votes, which will be divided to three parts – media 30 percent, fellow PBA players 25 percent and the league’s Commissioner’s Office 5 percent.