ARWIND Santos moved a step closer of finally realizing his dream of winning the elusive PBA MVP plum after he ran away with the Best Player of the Conference Award of the Governors’ Cup on Sunday.
The 32-year-old Santos, the pillar of Petron’s run to the Finals of the season-ending conference, compiled a total of 1,202 points from statistical points, media, players, and league votes to emerge as the top player of the import-spiked tournament.
The honor puts the Petron Blaze superstar within reach of winning the league's top individual plum to be awarded on Game 4 of the best-of-seven title series. The three winners of the Best Player of the Conference plum, including Jayson Castro (Philippine Cup) and LA Tenorio (Commissioner's Cup) are the two closest pursuers of Santos for the MVP award.
The pride of Angeles City, Pampanga averaged 12.6 points on 49-percent shooting, 8.3 boards, 1.3 blocks, 1.2 steals in 32 minutes per game this conference.
It’s the second BPC award for Santos, who also won the plum in the same conference two years ago when Petron won the title under coach Ato Agustin.
Petron players copped the top 3 places of the award as rookie June Mar Fajardo finished second with 777 points, followed by point guard Alex Cabagnot, who tallied 558 markers.
Barangay Ginebra’s LA Tenorio, who led the stats race, finished at fourth place with 388 points, while Jay Washington of Globalport rounded out the top 5 with 388 points.
Meanwhile, the efforts of Marqus Blakely in leading San Mig Coffee to a second straight Governors Cup Finals bore fruit after he beat Petron’s Elijah Millsap for the Best Import award.
Blakely, who was runner up to Jamel Cornley in the Best Import race during last season’s Governors Cup, ended with 1322 points.
Millsap finished second with 937 points, while Arizona Reid (673) of Rain or Shine and Meralco’s Mario West (450) completed the Top 4.