TALK `N Text’s third straight trip to the PBA Philippine Cup Finals and the splendid showing of guard Jason Castro are likely to spoil what had been one of the most remarkable performances seen from a rookie right in his very first conference in the league.
Castro is expected to ease out Alaska freshman Calvin Abueva for the coveted Best Player of the Conference (BPC) award to be given prior to Game Four of the title series on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Until the semifinals of the All-Filipino tournament, Abueva, Castro, and Talk `N Text teammate Ranidel de Ocampo were in a neck-and-neck battle for the individual plum as they occupied the Top Five spots in the statistical race.
'The Beast' sat at no. 2 (31.0 sps), Castro at fourth (29.6), and De Ocampo at fifth (27.8).
Arwind Santos of Petron, who was the no. 1 in the list with 35.1 sps, and Meralco’s Sol Mercado (third with 30.3) kissed their respective bids goodbye as their teams were eliminated one after the other early in the playoffs.
But with the Aces likewise bowing out of the title race, Abueva's hopes of becoming the first player since Eric Menk in 1999 to win a best player honor right in his debut all-Filipino conference dimmed as Castro and de Ocampo stayed on course to give the Tropang Texters a third straight Philippine Cup championship.
Final day of voting was last Sunday, and the fact that both Castro and de Ocampo were playing well in the Finals and impressing voters is expected to translate into a surge of votes that could overhaul Abueva's lead in the statistical race.
Of the two, Castro appeared to have a solid crack at winning his first ever Best Player of the Conference title as he emerged as the top scorer of the Tropang Texters by averaging 15.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game.
Statistics accounts for 40 percent of the criteria in determining the winner, 30 percent are for the media votes, 25 percent players’ votes, and the remaining five percent from the Commissioner’s Office.
Until their respective teams were ousted, Santos and Abueva were the two most dominant players of the conference as both averaged in double-double figures.
An online poll done by Spin.ph showed close to 58 percent of 512 readers who cast their vote feels Abueva is deserving of the Best Player of the Conference award.