BIG-TIME players step up their play in the playoffs, when the games matter most. Well, if that’s the case, prepare to be surprised with the standout stars of the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup semis.
SPIN.ph dived into the stats to find out who has elevated their performance the most in the semifinals, and these five have really impressed. There are a few familiar names who have built careers on fantastic postseason stints, but there are also up-and-coming players who are showing early signs of stardom.
Here’s the fab five in the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup semis.
Elims: 14.5 points (45.9 FG%), 3.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 0.5 steal
Semis: 18.5 points (41.9 FG%), 5.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal
Cabagnot, San Miguel’s second leading scorer this conference, struggled in the quarterfinals against Star Hotshots, scoring just two points on 1-of-16 shooting. But he more than made up for his poor showing in the semis, carrying the scoring load for the Beermen and even ended up the second-best scorer of the semis behind Alaska’s import Rob Dozier. He’s always been steady in postseasons past but the 33-year-old guard shone even more as he carried the fight for the already-eliminated Beermen.
Elims: 13.1 points (52.3 FG%), 2.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.6 steal
Semis: 16 points (57.78 FG%), 3.7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2.25 steals
Cruz was Rain or Shine’s most lethal weapon (pardon the pun, Paul Lee fans) against San Miguel. The sophomore guard tortured the team of his college mentor Leo Austria, leading the Elasto Painters in scoring. He also imposed his will on the defense as he shot an absurd 57.78 percent (tops among locals and third-best among all players in the semis) from the field despite his high volume of attempts. Cruz was deadliest inside the arc as he made 18-of-24 shots, that’s a whopping 75% clip. Plus, he also wreaked havoc on defense, with 2.25 steals per game (tied for 2nd with teammate Pierre Henderson-Niles, and Alaska’s RJ Jazul and Calvin Abueva).
Elims: 18.1 points (46.2 FG%), 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.2 steals
Semis: 16.5 points (41.38 FG%), 6.75 rebounds, 1.75 assists, 2.25 steals
Abueva is having quite a season, averaging career-bests in points, shooting clip, assists, and steals. But his stats are noticeably down in the Commissioner’s Cup semis so far, which could be explained by the defense-oriented series they have against Meralco. Both teams are scoring just a little over 86 points per game. Yet despite the Bolts locking down on him, ‘The Beast’ remains the third-best scorer in the semis. What’s more is that he’s transformed into a menace on defense, almost doubling his steals output from the elims, making a strong case as the best two-way player in the league right now.
Elims: 9.4 points (47.2 FG%), 3.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.5 steal
Semis: 13.5 points (48.65 FG%), 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 0.25 steal
Browse through the semis leaderboards and Ahanmisi figures in the top 10 of four statistical categories. He’s second in assists, tied for seventh in blocks, tied for 8th in rebounds, and tied for ninth in points. He’s also Rain or Shine’s second leading scorer in their conquest of San Miguel. The rookie has certainly blossomed in the Commissioner’s Cup playoffs, showcasing an all-around game that’s greatly helped the Elasto Painters book a return trip to the Finals.
Elims: 11 points (44.9 FG%), 3.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.5 steal
Semis: 14.5 points (42.9 FG%), 2.5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Dillinger’s never been known as a deadshot from beyond the arc, making less than a three a game in his eight-year career in the PBA. But everything’s changed this season, more so in the Commissioner’s Cup semis where he’s made more field goals behind the three point line than inside the paint. He’s the best three-point shooter in the semis with an astounding 3.25 triples per game, hitting at a fourth-highest clip of 43.33%. Even his heave from the backcourt in Game 4 banked in. The man is red-hot from three point territory. He also still attacks the rim at reckless abandon, part of why he’s the seventh best scorer in the semis.