By REYNALD MAGALLON
The heat of the MVP race between June Mar Fajardo and Scottie Thompson could also spill to the PBA All-Star festivities in Passi City, Iloilo set March 9-12.
Both the MVP frontrunners emerged as the top two players leading in the fan poll after the first voting returns released by the league on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
Fajardo leads the selection with 37,915 votes closely followed by Thompson with 37,759 votes making them on pace of becoming the two team’s captains who will select the players through a draft after the PBA adapted the same format done by NBA.
Japeth Aguilar was not too far behind at the third spot with 37,322 votes while fellow Ginebra forward Jamie Malonzo came in at fourth spot with 32,503 votes. Magnolia’s Calvin Abueva rounded up the top five so far with 32,503.
SMB’s CJ Perez (31,184), Ginebra’s Christian Standhardinger (29,821), Rain or Shine’s James Yap (28,117), and Ginebra’s backcourt duo of LA Tenorio (28,027) and Stanley Pringle also of Ginebra (27,441) made it to the Top 10 list.
Completing the Top 24 after the first round of tally were Terrence Romeo (24,821), Jayson Castro (24,408), Paul Lee (24,126), Robert Bolick (23,468), Roger Pogoy (20,042), Chris Newsome (19,637), Jeremiah Gray (18,875), Mikey Williams (18,826), Marcio Lassiter (18,556), Arvin Tolentino (18,444), Mark Barroca (17,139), Gabe Norwood (15,448), Calvin Oftana (15,427), and Kevin Alas (15,205).
For the coaches, Ginebra head coach Tim Cone leads the poll with 51,707 votes, way ahead of second placer Yeng Guiao with 22,705.
In the Rookie, Sophomore, Junior game, Malonzo and Ginebra running mate Jeremiah Gray lead the cast.
Malonzo amassed 41,933 while Gray had 35, 248, both ahead of their peers with Calvin Oftana (33,172), followed by Shaun Ildefonso (32,795), Tolentino (32,527) completed the top five.
Tyler Tio (31,083), Aaron Black (30,926), Mikey Williams (30,409). Justin Arana (29,793), and Jerrick Ahanmisi (26,764) are also in the top 10 while Gian Mamuyac (25,515), RK Ilagan (23,870), Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser (23,700), Isaac Go (23,139), Jerrick Balanza (22,296), Joshua Munzon (21,584), Matt Nieto (20,779), Encho Serrano (20,720), Anton Asistio (20,659), and Mike Nieto (20,615) completed the list.