Best of the best
Playing one of his finest and complete tournaments, Magnolia’s Paul Lee on Wednesday night won his first Best Player of the Conference (BPC) award over Alaska’s Chris Banchero after getting 31 out of 36 first place votes from the covering media.
The 6-foot dynamo finished fourth in the statistical points (SP) race and was just a rung ahead of Banchero before getting 424 out of 885 points from the media votes to tally 1013.
Statistical leader and rookie Christian Standhardinger was third, with NorthPort’s Stanley Pringle winding up fourth and Barangay Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar bringing up the rear of the five-man pack of candidates.
Banchero tallied 753 points, with Standhardinger, who would have been a shoo-in for the award had San Miguel Beer made the Finals, finishing with a total of 659.
Magnolia and Alaska are locked in a heated race for the season-ending conference title, with the Hotshots shooting to take a 3-1 lead at press time at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The two teams split the biggest individual awards handed out Wednesday night with the Aces’ Mike Harris running away with the Best Import trophy over Romeo Travis of Magnolia.
Harris, a 35-year-old NBA veteran who the Aces had chased since 2009, topped the SP race with 540 after getting 31 first place votes from the media and 150 points from the PBA to tally 1209.
Travis won the players’ votes and finished with 914 in his attempt to win a second Best Import award. Interestingly, he won his first one while playing for Alaska two years ago.
The season MVP awards will be handed out during the opening ceremonies on Jan. 13.
June Mar Fajardo, San Miguel Beer’s reigning four-time MVP, leads the race for the highest individual award in the league, and will face a little opposition from the likes of Pringle and Aguilar.
Fajardo won the BPC during the Philippine Cup and had another strong showing in the Commissioner’s Cup before San Miguel lost to Barangay Ginebra in the Finals.
Pringle, meanwhile, has consistently been NorthPort’s top gun, but the Batang Pier have hardly made any serious headway in any tournament this season.
Aguilar will ride on his performance in the Commissioner’s Cup plus a semifinal stint in the season-ending conference.
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