PETRON’s hot start in the PBA Governors Cup has allowed lanky forward Arwind Santos to overtake Alaska super rookie Calvin Abueva in the heated race for the season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) plum.
The 6-foot-4 Santos has so far amassed 29.8 statistical points in the most recent MVP derby tally released by the league after playing a major role in the Boosters’ fast start to the season-ending meet that saw them win five of their first six matches.
The high-leaping forward out of Far Eastern University holds a slim lead over Abueva, who is bidding to become the first freshman player to win the Rookie of the Year trophy and MVP award in the same season since Benjie Paras did the trick in 1989.
Abueva remains in striking distance at second with 28.6 sps. halfway through the single-round elimination.
Ironically, both Santos and Abueva are from Pampanga.
Santos is averaging solid numbers of 13.3 points and 7.1 rebounds in 30 minutes of play during the team’s first six games. The bonus points accumulated with Petron's wins are also expected to boost the one major award still missing from his collection.
“Siyempre, magandang balita iyan (leading the MVP race). Nandiyan na naman tayo na nangyari na rin naman dati, pero kasama naman iyan sa dasal ko, na makatulong sa team para mag-champion, and kung ipagkaloob ng Diyos eh makuha natin iyan (win the MVP award),” Santos said when reached by Spin.ph on Tuesday.
Here's the Top 10 of the MVP derby as of September 9:
1) A.Santos (Petron) 29.8 statistical points
2) C.Abueva (Alaska) 28.6 SPs
3) Tenorio, LA (Ginebra) 27.8 SPs
4) J.Castro (TNT) 27.4 SPs
5) R.de Ocampo (TNT) 26.7 SPs
6) M. Caguioa (Ginebra ) 26.5 SPs
7) Sol Mercado (Global) 26.3 SPs
8) C. Baguio (Alaska) 25.5 SPs
9) JV Casio (Alaska) 25.4 SPs
10) M. Pingris (San Mig) 25.2 SPs
A former UAAP MVP, Santos has already won numerous individual awards since turning pro as the league’s second overall pick in 2006.
He has been a six-time All-Defensive team member, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, a one-time Best Player of the Conference and a Finals MVP, with the last two awards he achieved during Petron’s last championship in the 2011 Governors Cup.
The MVP thus far, is the only individual award that has eluded the former King Tamaraw in his seven-year pro career.
“Siguro dumating na din naman ako sa point na malaki ang chance ko diyan. Nag-expect din naman ako before na mananalo ako ng MVP, pero hindi nangyari,” he recalled.
“Pero nagpapasalamat pa rin naman ako sa Diyos dahil pag naiisip ko yung saan ako nagmula, sobrang blessed na rin ako dahil sa narating ko,” he added.
Rounding up the top five MVP contenders are Barangay Ginebra starting playmaker LA Tenorio (27.8), and the Talk N Text pair of Jason Castro of Talk ‘N Text (27.4) and Ranidel de Ocampo (26.7).
Tenorio and Castro were the previous Best Player of the Conference awardees during this season’s Commissioner’s and Philippine Cup, respectively.