MVP derby now a 3-player race
It’s down to just three players.
The race for the Philippine Basketball Association Most Valuable Player trophy will be contested by the three players who won player of the conference awards this season.
Arwind Santos of Petron Blaze became the last candidate for the MVP award after he won the Governors’ Cup Best Player of the Conference trophy before Game 2 of the Finals last Sunday.
Normally, aside from the three winners of the BPC award, the PBA also names the season’s top statistical points leader as an MVP candidate.
But Santos is the current topnotcher in the stats race, thus there will be no fourth bet for MVP.
Santos’ victory also took out Calvin Abueva from MVP consideration, meaning there will be no repeat of 1989, when Benjie Paras won both MVP and top rookie awards. The Alaska standout, who had a blazing start to the season after a colorful NCAA career with San Sebastian, had been mentioned as a possible rookie MVP.
Abueva, though, still is the favorite in the rookie race.
LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra, the Commissioner’s Cup’s Best Player, and Jason Castro of Talk ‘N Text, who was BPC awardee after helping guide the Tropang Texters to a third straight championship of the Philippine Cup, are the other two MVP candidates. Tenorio steered the Kings to a runner-up finish in the Commissioner’s Cup and also had a high-profile stint with the Gilas Pilipinas squad that finished with a silver medal in the Fiba Asia tournament.
The award will be handed out on Friday before Game 4 at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay and anyone who wins will earn his first MVP.
Abueva and June Mar Fajardo of Petron Blaze are the leading contenders for the Rookie of the Year award, with Abueva holding a slight lead over the 6-foot-9 Cebuano in the statistical points race. Fajardo burst into contention after a solid showing with the Boosters in the current Governors’ Cup, where he is playing a vital role for Petron in the Finals against San Mig Coffee.
Aside from the statistical points, the awards will also be based on votes from players, the media and the PBA office.
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