RICARDO Ratliffe continued to give the Star Hotshots all the validation it needed for the mid-conference import switch as the hardworking reinforcement took the early lead in the race for the Best Import award of the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Taking over Tony Mitchell for the last three games in the elimination round, Ratliffe ended up leading all imports in scoring and shot blocking as he averaged 34.7 points, 21 rebounds and 3.3 blocks for the third-seed Hotshots (9-2). In turn, the returning Star import had a total of 65.7 statistical points to take a significant lead over the rest of the pack.
Ratliffe also poured 29 points to go with eight rebounds in just three quarters of work as Star drubbed Rain or Shine to move a win away from clinching a spot in the semifinals.
Coming in second is top-seed Ginebra’s do-it-all reinforcement Justin Brownlee with 53.5 SPs. Brownlee leads the Gin Kings in almost all major statistical categories except blocks with averages of 28.3 points, 11.1 rebounds. 5.1 assists, 1.9 steals and 2.2 swats in 11 games.
Blackwater’s Greg Smith came in third after leading all imports in rebounds while coming in second in assists and fifth in points with his tally of 27.2 points, 22.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.2 steals. The Elite, however, managed to win only twice in the 11 games Smith played, which brought down his SPs to 52.9.
Rounding out the Top Five are Phoenix’s Jameel McKay with 47.7 points and Alaska’s Cory Jefferson with 47.4 SPs.
TNT’s Joshua Smith played only two games in the eliminations to end up with 46.5 SPs, good enough for sixth place. SMB’s Charles Rhodes came in a point behind Smith.
Alex Stepheson of Meralco (45 SPs), Justin Harper of GlobalPort (44.5), and Wayne Chism of NLEX (41.3) completed the Top 10 in the standings.