TOP gun Gary David continues to lead the race for the season MVP award, but the failure of Powerade to advance past the eliminations of the PBA Governors Cup is likely to hurt his shot at the coveted individual honor.
The latest Statistical Points (SPs) released by the league showed the Tigers’ shooting guard still on top with 34 SPs in 49 games by the end of the eliminations.
The next four players after him, however, are still seeing action in the single-round semis, giving them enough opportunities to catch up.
At No. 2 is Petron’s Arwind Santos with 31.7 SPs (41 games), followed by two-time and reigning MVP James Yap of B-Meg with 29.0 SPs (49 games); Jayson Castro of Talk `N Text, who has 28.8 SPs and has played the most number of games with 51; and Ginebra’s Mark Caguioa with 28 SPs (35 games).
Under league rules, a maximum of six players can be eligible for the MVP, with three of the spots reserved for the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) winners, and the rest to come from among the statistical leaders.
Both David and Caguioa are automatic candidates for the award on the strength of the BPC honors bestowed upon them earlier in the season. David took the conference title during a memorable Philippine Cup campaign that saw the Tigers defy the odds by making it all the way to the best-of-seven finals, while Caguioa claimed the award during the Commissioner’s Cup despite missing several games in the semis after Yap accidentally poked him in the eye in their semifinal encounter.
Once the candidates are determined, voting will be decided through statistics (40 percent), media votes (30 percent), players votes (25 percent), and votes from the Commissioner’s Office (5 percent).
Meanwhile, a four-way race is shaping up for the Rookie of the Year award, with Paul Lee of Rain or Shine, Jayvee Casio of Powerade and Marcio Lassiter of Petron in the hunt and Barangay Ginebra’s Dylan Ababou trying to make a solid case for himself in the homestretch.
Lee, drafted No. 2 overall, shows the way with 25.8 SPs, and appears to have a clear path at the once-in-a-lifetime award as the Elasto Painters are in strong contention for a finals berth in the season-ending tournament.
Top pick Casio is in second with 24.1 SPs but his chances have dimmed now that the Tigers are already out contention. Lassiter is in third with 21.4 SPs, but he missed most of the Boosters’ campaign due to an injury.
That leaves Ababou as the biggest threat to Lee’s Rookie of the Year bid. The one-time UAAP MVP out of Santo Tomas amassed 17.9 SPs for fourth place, with the Kings still very much in a position to make the finals.