RANIDEL De Ocampo finally shed his bridesmaid tag, bagging his first career Best Player of the Conference plum by edging San Miguel Beer’s youthful slotman June Mar Fajardo and Air21’s evergreen big man Asi Taulava for the PBA Governors Cup’s top individual award.
The 6-foot-5 De Ocampo, Talk ‘N Text’s reliable outside gunner and inside threat, amassed 1084 points as he rode a wave of 541 media votes and 150 PBA votes to beat the 6-10 Fajardo, who finished second with an aggregate of 989 total points.
Fajardo, the statistical race leader in the battle for the Best Player award in the Governors Cup as well as the MVP plum this season, lost out despite holding a wide 108-35 advantage in player’s votes and a 473-358 edge in the statistics.
“Sobrang saya talaga kasi first award ko ito sa Best Player of the Conference,” said De Ocampo upon receiving his first top individual award in the PBA.
“Dati naman nagiging candidate din ako pero di nananalo pero kahit paano, yung mga hirap dati at tiyaga nagbunga na. At na-appreciate naman ng mga tao at bumoto tulad ng PBA, media at players.”
The sweet-shooting De Ocampo, though, is hopeful that in the coming years, he would be able to win more championships with Talk ‘N Text.
“Gusto ko siyempre, more championships kasi mas maganda marami kang championship rings eh. And at the same time, habang nananalo ka, mas lalaki chance mo makakuha ng award,” he added.
De Ocampo, who averaged career-high numbers of 16.0 points and 8.2 rebounds in the Governors Cup, won his very first Best Player award after losing to teammate Jason Castro in last season’s Philippine Cup as well as in Commissioner’s Cup this season.
Taulava finished third overall in the BPC with 638 points, while Greg Slaughter of Barangay Ginebra (409) and Meralco’s Cliff Hodge (404) round up the top five.
Meanwhile, Rain or Shine’s Arizona Reid earned his second Best Import award after beating last season’s top import awardee Marqus Blakely of San Mig Super Coffee.
The 6-foot-3 Reid, a standout from High Point, earned a total of 1306 points, broken down to 518 media votes, 563 from the stats, 150 PBA votes and 75 votes from players to capture his second Best Import plum after winning the same award in 2011.
Blakely garnered 1043 total points to place second, while Talk ‘N Text’s Paul Harris finished third with 602.