THROUGHOUT his nine-year career in the pro league, Sonny Thoss has always been known as a team player.
On Sunday night, he finally won an individual award for a change.
The Alaska veteran won the first PBA Finals MVP award of his career on Sunday after a standout performance in the 3-0 sweep of Ginebra in the Commissioner's Cup Finals that saw him shine on both ends of the floor.
“Overwhelming! I’m proud of my teammates. We’ve gone a long way,” said Thoss, who averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds in the championship series while anchoring the defense that shut down Ginebra import Vernon Macklin.
The 6-7 slotman may not be an entirely popular choice for the award, with some pundits believing rookie Calvin Abueva deserved it more. But there was no denying that the Aces wouldn't have been as dominating in the series had Thoss not risen to the occasion.
The Gilas Pilipinas mainstay had his best offensive game of the playoffs in Game Three, scoring 13 points while making Ginebra pay for the single coverage it had thrown at him during the match.
But his biggest contribution came on the defensive end of the floor where he teamed up with Best Import awardee Robert Dozier, Gabby Espinas, and Nic Belasco in holding down Macklin to 12 points and 14 rebounds in the match.
Overall, the Ginebra import made just 10 of 23 shots in the series.
The 31-year-old Alaska slotman was quick to deflect the accolade, saying his teammates, from the starters down to the practice players, deserve the credit as well.
“I believe in my teammates. We fought our way through. We just get back to what we do, play defense, rebound and execute,” he said.
“I was surprised also (for winning the Finals MVP). But all my teammates deserve this. Every single one of them are MVPs to me, especially the third group because they work hard like the first group.”