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    Asi Taulava surges up PBA statistical race, looms as threat to leader June Mar Fajardo in MVP derby

    May 22, 2014
    San Miguel's June Mar Fajardo leads the statistical race at the end of the Commissioner's Cup while Asi Taulava of Air21 has moved up to No. 4. Ginebra big man Greg Slaughter is at No. 5 and leads the Rookie of the Year race by a mile. Jerome Ascano

    GIANTS led by San Miguel Beer sophomore June Mar Fajardo and Air21's evergreen Asi Taulava dominate the race for the coveted Most Valuable Player plum of the PBA's 39th season.

    Fajardo, this season's Philippine Cup Best Player awardee, lead the cast of big men who are making a serious run at the MVP trophy after amassing 24.4 statistical points at the end of the Commissioner's Cup which San Mig Super Coffee won last week.

    The 6-10 Fajardo, last season's top rookie pick, has showed remarkable improvement the past three conferences, having been a consistent double-double machine for the underachieving Beermen. The pride of Pinamungahan, Cebu is now shooting for his first MVP trophy this season.

    San Miguel's veteran power forward and reigning MVP Arwind Santos is at close second with 23.0 SPs, while Commissioner's Cup Best Player Jason Castro of Talk 'N Text is in third with 22.4.

    Taulava, though, made a dramatic jump from eighth spot at the end of the Philippine Cup to No. 4 in the MVP race with 20.7 SPs, thanks to his impressive performance in the mid-season conference that powered the giant-killing Express to a franchise-best fourth place finish.

    Barangay Ginebra rookie center Greg Slaughter in at fifth spot in the race with 20.6 SPs. The 6-11 Gin Kings big man is also miles ahead of San Mig freshman forward Ian Sangalang in the Rookie of the Year derby with his 20.6 compared to the latter's 13.8.

    Curiously, no one from San Mig - winner of the season's first two conferences - has made it to the Top Five of the statistical race, which will be the only players eligible for the yearend MVP award.

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    The highest-placed San Mig player is Marc Pingris, who is in ninth place with 18.7 SPs.

    Talk 'N Text veteran forward Ranidel de Ocampo also made a steady climb from 12th in the Philippine Cup to No. 6 (20.3), thanks to the Tropang Texters' runner-up finish in the second conference.

    Rounding up the top 10 are Ginebra's Japeth Aguilar at No. 7 (19.9), Globalport's Jay Washington eighth (19.4), and Meralco gunner Gry David 10th (18.43).

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    San Miguel's June Mar Fajardo leads the statistical race at the end of the Commissioner's Cup while Asi Taulava of Air21 has moved up to No. 4. Ginebra big man Greg Slaughter is at No. 5 and leads the Rookie of the Year race by a mile. Jerome Ascano
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