THANKS to Petron's late-reason resurgence, nearly man Arwind Santos may finally end up shedding the 'best player never to win an MVP' label.
The Petron superstar stayed on course to winning the PBA's highest individual honor for the first time as he leads the statistical race with only the season-ending Governors Cup playoffs still to be played.
Santos has long been considered one of the league's top players and the long-armed pro out of Far Eastern University has come close to the award a few times in his career.
He has also made the Mythical First Team six times in his seven years as a pro.
This season, however, sees him as the man to beat as he continues to lead the statistical race with 30.3 statistical points (SPs) at the end of the single-round eliminations.
The 6-4 Santos is averaging 13.2 points and 8.0 rebounds in the import-spiced conference and has gotten a lot of bonus points from Petron's 8-1 (win-loss) performance in the eliminations.
More importantly, the top-seeded Boosters are poised to go deep in the playoffs, which would give Santos the chance to impress voters which have the power to swing the race one way or another.
Looming as the biggest threat to Santos' quest is Alaska's Calvin Abueva, who has set his sights on duplicating Benjie Paras' feat of winning the top rookie and MVP awards on the same year.
The Alaska super rookie has 28.5 SPs while averaging 9.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists this conference but is in danger of falling off the radar with Alaska facing an uphill climb in the playoffs.
Barangay Ginebra guard LA Tenorio (28.2) and reigning PBA MVP Mark Caguioa (27.6) occupy the third and fourth spots, respectively, while Globalport’s do-it-all playmaker Solomon Mercado is in fifth with (27.2).
Rounding up the top 10 are Air21’s KG Canaleta (25.8), Talk ‘N Text forward Ranidel de Ocampo (25.6), Alaska’s Cyrus Baguio (25.2), Texters guard Jason Castro (25.1) and Petron playmaker Alex Cabagnot (25.0).
Here are the top 30 statistical points leaders: