THOUGH Air21 bowed out of Finals contention after losing in Game Five to San Mig on Wednesday, the Express’ renaissance man Asi Taulava has put himself in contention for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Best Player of the Conference award.
The 41-year-old Taulava, who averaged 17.6 points and 12.2 rebounds in the recent semifinal series against the Mixers, moved up from sixth to fourth place in the statistical race of the BPC tabulation with his 29.3 statistical point average at the end of the semifinal stage.
He stands just 1.1 points behind statistical race leader Jason Castro of Talk ‘N Text (30.4) with only the finals left to be played. Castro’s teammate Ranidel de Ocampo is at close second with his 30.3 SPs, followed by San Miguel Beer sophomore slotman June Mar Fajardo.
Reigning MVP Arwind Santos, who was No. 2 at the end of the single-round eliminations, fell to fifth place with 29.1 SPs.
The league rule that limits the 'Best Player' candidates to the top five in the statistical race stands to benefit Taulava, who is enjoying his finest performance since returning to the PBA during the Governors Cup last season after winning a championship with San Miguel Beer in the Asean Basketball League.
Votes from the media, fellow players, and the Commissioner's Office will decide the outcome as Taulava bids to become the oldest player to win the individual honor.
The evergreen slotman won his only Best Player award during the 2003 All-Filipino conference while playing for Talk ‘N Text, the team that took him in as its direct hire player during the 1999 season.