MARK Caguioa has bagged the PBA Governors’ Cup best player award and gained the inside track on the season MVP trophy, but he would have gladly traded both for a shot at the season-ending championship.
“I’m happy I won the award, but I’m not satisfied [that] we didn’t go to the Finals,” said the Barangay Ginebra star shortly after receiving the plaque from Commissioner Chito Salud. “I would definitely trade this trophy to be in the Finals.”
The bitterness has lingered for the popular guard, five days after the B-Meg Llamados edged the Kings, 74-72, in a sudden-death playoff for the last berth in the championship series.
Despite finishing second in the statistical points standings, Caguioa still emerged as the season-ending conference’s top cager after he gained the most votes from the media and the Commissioner’s Office to finish with 1,121 points.
The 32-year-old Caguioa received the award before Game Two of the title series between B-Meg and Rain or Shine, whose bull-strong reinforcement, Jamelle Cornley, was named Best Import.
Caguioa, who won the same award in the Commissioner’s Cup, is the first player to win the award in successive tournaments since Petron’s Jay Washington won the plum in the 2010 Fiesta Conference and the 2010-2011 Philippine Cup.
The award also means that Caguioa’s chances of winning the first MVP award of his career have been greatly enhanced. The awarding ceremonies will be held on Sunday.
If he wins the league's top individual award, Caguioa will be the same age as former Ginebra cager Robert Jaworski when the Big J won his MVP trophy in 1978. He is 32.
Paul Lee, Rain or Shine’s rookie sensation, surprisingly ended up at second place with 694 points. The fearless point guard from Tondo finished last in the stats race but got the most votes from the players.
B-Meg stars Marc Pingris (586) and James Yap (537) finished third and fourth, respectively.
Curiously, Powerade’s Gary David, who topped the statistical race and was tipped to crowd Caguioa for the best player award, wound up a far fifth with just 528 points.
The Tigers star was last in media and players votes.