Unheralded PBA players shine in statistical categories. Find out who they are
Blackwater rookie Art dela Cruz, Rodney Brondial, KG Canaleta, Allein Maliksi and JP Erram have shone in specific statistical categories. Jerome Ascano/ Jaime Campos

NLEX’S ageless wonder Asi Taulava was in awe of GlobalPort star Terrence Romeo Friday night, calling his Gilas teammate ‘phenomenal’ after seeing him drop eight treys and finishing with 27 points in a losing effort.

But the 43-year-old vet, who’s still defying expectations with averages of 11.4 points and 9.7 rebounds, could say the same about the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, especially with some notable surprises and oddities among the stats leaders nearing the end of the eliminations.

The usual suspects occupy the top spots in most statistical categories. San Miguel’s Tyler Wilkerson leads all players in scoring with 36 points per game, while Romeo is the top local scorer with 25.57.

Meralco’s Arinze Onuaku lords over the boards with 19.125 a game, and Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter is the only local in double-digit rebounding per game with 10.75. SMB’s Chris Ross, meanwhile, leads the league in assists with 6.71 a game.

A pair of Blackwater bigs are making waves, though, on the defensive end. The top shot blocker is Tropang TNT’s David Simon (3.33), but Blackwater’s JP Erram leads the way for the locals with 1.778 swats a night. And his teammate Arthur Dela Cruz, meanwhile, is the league’s top snatcher with 2.3 steals a game.

But here’s a fun fact about Erram: He’s too busy chasing for blocks that makes him a poor rebounder, only 11th among locals with just 5.556 boards per game and slightly better than Mark Barroca (5.444) despite being taller than the Star guard by a whopping nine inches.

And another odd phenomenon is that despite having its players lead two defensive stats categories, Blackwater finds itself the league’s second worst defensive unit in points allowed and opponent shooting.

Meanwhile, Alaska’s star Calvin Abueva continues his all-around brilliance as he’s still in the top 10 among all locals in five statistical categories: 4th in rebounds with 8.13, 7th in steals with 1.25, 9th in points (16) and blocks (0.75), and 10th in assists (3.75). But ‘The Beast’ isn’t the only one with a phenomenal showing, which brings us back to Romeo.

Not only is the Gilas and GlobalPort star the league’s fifth best scorer, Romeo is scoring efficiently from all over the floor. He’s shooting 44.8% from the field, 45% from three, and 88.9% on free throws. It’s the nearest among all PBA players including imports to achieving elite efficiency shown by 50-40-90 club members in the NBA like Larry Bird, Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, and Kevin Durant. Durant seems the more appropriate match, as Romeo is nearing great efficiency while still piling up the points.

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Speaking of efficiency, there are two other players who are proving to be deadlier than Romeo inside the court excluding free throw percentage: Star Hotshots Allein Maliksi and Mahindra’s KG Canaleta. Get this: They are the only men in the PBA shooting at least 50% from the field and from beyond the arc.

Maliksi, 8th best local scorer with 16.44 points per game, has been burning nets at a 53.61% clip and an absurd 57% from deep in making 24 three pointers (fifth among locals) out of 42 attempts.   Canaleta isn’t too far behind with 52% shooting from the field and 50% from the three point area.

Finally, there’s one underrated guy who’s a phenom on the offensive glass. Phoenix’s undersized big man Rodney Brondial is the only local player to crack the leaderboard in offensive rebounds. The 6-foot-4 forward lands at the 12th spot with 2.89 offensive boards. The 11 men above him? All imports.

 

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