LETRAN slotman Raymond Almazan stood out, as expected, after a dominant season that saw him transform from a defensive stalwart in previous years to a complete player, claiming the Most Valuable Player title in Season 89 of the NCAA.
“Pinagtrabahuhan ko yun,” said Almazan, who will officially receive the award on Thursday before Game Two of the Finals against San Beda. “Hindi ko naman basta-basta kinuha sa basurahan lang yun o pinulot ko sa daan.”
It was a triple celebration for the Bataan native as he was also declared the Defensive Player of the Year for the second season in a row on a day he led Letran to the finals by scoring 19 points, grabbing 23 boards, and blocking nine shots in an 85-58 rout of San Sebastian.
“Wala na akong mahihiling pa kasi nag-pay out sa dulo yung hard work eh,” added the Bataan native, whose PBA dreams also came to reality last weekend when Rain or Shine selected him third overall in the rookie draft.
The 24-year-old Almazan averaged 14.7 points, 14.3 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks in the elimination round to finish with 55.61 statistical points.
He beat San Beda counterpart Ola Adeogun (50.33 SPs), and University of Perpetual Help forward Harold Arboleda (46.78) for the honor. Cedric Happi Noube of Emilio Aguinaldo College (46.56) and the Altas’ Nicholas Omorogbe (44.71) rounded out the Mythical Five.
Stats points are the sole basis fopr the MVP award.
Perpetual Help's Juneric Baloria won Rookie of the Year honors, edging hardworking San Sebastian center Bradwyn Guinto.
The Most Improved Player award, which is handed out only to second-year players, was given to Jose Rizal University’s Michael Mabulac. Only 43rd in the SP standings last year, Mabulac placed 12th this season.