ALASKA coach Luigi Trillo said whatever happens in Friday’s PBA Annual Leo Awards, he’s happy and proud of what energetic rookie Calvin Abueva has brought to the Aces this season.
Abueva is the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year honor in a season where his spectacular play in the first two conferences has inspired talk of a rare rookie-MVP year for the former San Sebastian star.
However, a dip in his performance as well as Alaska's quick exit in the season-ending Governors' Cup has eroded his claim to both awards, now falling in danger of coming home empty-handed.
The former NCAA MVP topped the statistical race with 28.0 statistical points (SPs), well ahead of No. 1 pick overall June Mar Fajardo of Petron who finished with 25.5 SPs.
However, the statistical race only accounts for 40 percent of the Rookie of the Year balloting, with the other 60 percent to be decided by votes by the media (30%), players (25%) and the Commissioner's Office (5%).
That should be bad news for Abueva, who is not exactly the most popular among mediamen and fellow players.
Also, the major leap in Fajardo's game in Petron's run to the Governors' Cup Finals came prior to and during the casting of votes, which could sway a lot of votes in the Cebuano slotman's favor.
Still, there's no doubt in Trillo's mind who deserves the award.
“In terms of impact and what he’s done to the team, that’s a lot. I mean, Calvin was willing to sacrifice and has really played well during the first two conferences,,” Trillo told Spin.ph.
However, the Alaska coach was also quick to play down the significance of the individual award to the team, especially with its 'We, not me' battlecry.
“We’re more about the team and basically buying in to what we do. We want to win the championship," he said. "And should Calvin be named the Rookie of the Year, that would be nice and we hope he will stay humble and continue to work and improve for next season.”