THE best and brightest professional stars gather under one roof on September 16 when the PBA Press Corps honors the league’s top individual performers in the 40th season during its Annual Awards Night at the Century Park Hotel in Pablo Ocampo St. (formerly Vito Cruz), Manila.
The celebration, a tradition held annually since 1993, starts at 7 p.m.
Headlining the list of awards are the Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year held in honor of legendary mentor Virgilio 'Baby' Dalupan and the late team manager Danny Floro of two-time Grand Slam champion Crispa, respectively.
Leo Austria, who led San Miguel to two championships this season, is favored to win the Coach of the Year award.
Other awards to be given are the Defensive Player of the Year, Mr. Quality Minutes (Sixth Man Award), Comeback Player, Order of Merit (given to the player with the most number of Best Player of the Week nods), Scoring Champion, and the All-Rookie Team.
Last year, Tim Cone was named PBAPC Coach of the Year for the third time in his career after steering San Mig Super Coffee (now Star Hotshots) to a season grand slam.
It was Cone’s first Coach of the Year plum in 19 years or since 1996 – the year he also powered Alaska to a Grand Slam feat.
The first PBAPC Coach of the Year award for Cone – the leader in league titles with 18 – came in 1994.
San Miguel Corporation (SMC) top honcho Ramon S. Ang meanwhile, was the recipient of last year’s Executive of the Year.
The other awardees last season include Marc Pingris (Defensive Player), PJ Simon (Mr. Quality Minutes), Asi Taulava (Comeback Player), Mark Barroca (Order of Merrit), Jayson Castro (Scoring Champion), along with the All-Rookie team of Greg Slaughter, Ian Sangalang, Justin Melton, Terrence Romeo, and Raymond Almazan.
PBAPC president Barry Pascua of Bandera will lead the celebration, together with top league officials led by new PBA president and CEO Chito Salud, Commissioner Chito Narvasa, chairman Robert Non of San Miguel Beer and the board representatives of Alaska, Ginebra, Barako Bull, Blackwater, Globalport, Mahindra, Meralco, NLEX, Rain or Shine, Star and Talk ’N Text.