TALK ‘N Text sparkplug Jason Castro has earned the vote even of his closest rivals for the Best Player of the Conference award.
Castro’s teammate, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Meralco Bolts star Solomon Mercado – both in the running for the honor after finishing inside the Top Five of the tournament’s statistical race - admitted on Tuesday that they have cast their votes for the cat-quick guard from Pampanga.
Another contender, statistical topnotcher Arwind Santos of Petron, did not even bother to cast his vote in the poll that ended on Monday afternoon.
Mercado believes a best player citation is long overdue for Castro, who for so long has played second fiddle to Texters star Jimmy Alapag.
“He’s never been Best Player of the Conference, he’s always done great and his team has always been good and finally, he should get the recognition," said Mercado.
The Bolts star said the choice for him came down to Castro and Alaska rookie Calvin Abueva. “Calvin had a great conference, but to me I feel Jason deserves it a little more,” he added.
De Ocampo, meantime, said he voted for Castro because he felt his teammate deserves the award more than him.
“Mas may pagasa siya kaysa sa akin. Mas deserving siya sa boto ko, kaysa sa sarili ko,” said de Ocampo.
“Championship ang gusto namin lagi kasi pang lahat yun, kung tutuusin nga ang individual honor na gusto lang namin yung Finals MVP, kasi ibig sabihin nun champion kami,” de Ocampo stressed.
The sweet-shooting big man from Tanza Cavite, likewise, is conceding the Finals MVP to Castro, assuming their team wraps up the series with Rain or Shine soon.
The best player award will be handed out before Game Four of the Finals on Wednesday night.
Both de Ocampo and Mercado also have words of wisdom for fan favorite Abueva.
“Kung hindi makuha ni Calvin yung BPC, huwag niya dibdibin yun. Ituloy niya lang yung sipag niya sa laro, I’m sure balang araw makukuha niya yun,” said de Ocampo, adding that he, too, believes Abueva has what it takes to be rookie-MVP.
Mercado said: “Calvin has the opportunity to win it this year, he just have to keep his head up. He had a great conference especially for a rookie and he has a lot of time to win that award.”