PAUL Lee and Chris Banchero are expected to give rookie Christian Standhardinger a run for his money in the race for the Best Player of the Conference award of the PBA Governors Cup.
The Magnolia stalwart and Alaska guard built a strong case for the individual award after helping their respective teams reach the finals of the season-ending conference.
While Standhardinger remained the runaway leader in the statistical race with a total of 41.9 SPs (statistical points) at the end of the semifinals, the Beermen’s failure to advance to the semifinals could factor in his campaign to win the award.
Meanwhile, Lee has suddenly climbed from No. 7 just before the playoffs to No. 4 heading to the finals with a total of 31.64 sps.
Banchero, on the other hand, went down from No. 3 to No. 5 with 31.56 sps after an ankle injury slowed him down in the semifinals.
Apart from statistics, also determining the winners of the individual awards are votes from players, mediamen, and the PBA Commissioner’s Office.
Stanley Pringle of NorthPort is running second behind Standhardinger with 34.0 sps. followed by Japeth Aguilar of Ginebra with 32.9 sps, but Pringle is not expected to figure in the race as the Batang Pier failed to qualify for the playoffs.
No one among Standhardinger, Lee, and Banchero has won the BPC award.
The 6-foot-7 Standhardinger, the workhorse rookie of the Beermen, leads the conference in both scoring (22.8 points) and rebounding (13.4 rebounds).
Lee, for his part, averaged 17.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.8 steals as he played a big part in the Hotshots ousting two-time champion Barangay Ginebra in the semifinals.
Banchero is playing the best conference of his career as he shows the way in the assist department with a league-best of 7.1 dishes, while averaging 14.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.0 steal.
The race for the Best Import award, meanwhile, has come down to a one-on-one race between Mike Harris of Alaska and Magnolia’s Romeo Travis as the two slug it out too, in the best-of-seven title series that starts on Dec. 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Harris holds the edge statistics-wise as he is averaging 30.3 points, 20.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.0 block.
Travis, winner of the award during the 2015 edition of this same tournament while still playing for Alaska, submitted numbers of 24.5 points, 14.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 2.0 steals.
Earlier, Justin Brownlee of Barangay Ginebra, two-time winner Allen Durham of Meralco, Blackwater’s Henry Walker, and Eugene Phelps were all strong contenders for the award, but are expected to fade away following the exit of their respective teams.