Three Beermen and a KaTropa are in a very tight race for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup Best Player of the Conference (BPC) award.
San Miguel Beer’s Alex Cabagnot, Chriss Ross and three-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) June Mar Fajardo and Jayson Castro of TNT KaTropa are in the hunt for the conference’s top individual honor with votes from the press and players could serve as swing votes for the BPC trophy.
Cabagnot and Ross, two cerebral guards who have yet to win the award in their careers, are locked for top spot in the statistical points (SPs) average category with 34.12 then Fajardo was not too far behind with 33.06.
GlobalPort’s Stanley Pringle was fourth in the SPs category after the semifinal stage with 32.54 but his Batang Pier were already booted out in the quarterfinals.
Castro, a four-time BPC winner, could end up as a dark horse for the award after a solid semifinal showing against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel. The two-time FIBA Asia Mythical Five member ranked fifth with 32.47 SPs average.
Cabagnot and Ross made up for Fajardo’s slow start in the Commissioner’s Cup and their all-around performance put them in front of the BPC race.
The southpaw Cabagnot, who started his career at the defunct Sta. Lucia Realty, averaged 15.13 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.06 assists and 1.2 steals in 16 games in the tournament.
The Filipino-American Ross also posted impressive numbers – 13.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 8.06 assists and 2.9 steals per game.
Meanwhile, Fajardo is eyeing a record-breaking sixth BPC award and his strong semifinal performance put him back in the conversation. Currently, the six-foot-10 center is tied with his mentor Danny Ildefonso with the most number of BPCs with five each.
Castro made a strong case for the BPC award after almost single-handedly carried TNT to the finals against the Gin Kings with import Joshua Smith a non-factor in the last three games of the series.
The five-foot-11 spitfire averaged 16.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.2 steals for KaTropa, who are back in the finals after two years. Castro has won four BPC awards; two came in the Commissioner’s Cup.
The top five candidates for the BPC are separated by less than two SPs average and they need to get the nod of media and players. Curiously, San Miguel and TNT has two sister teams in the league right now.
The SPs have a 40 percent value in the voting while the rest are media votes (30 percent), players’ votes (25 percent) and the PBA Commissioner’s Office (5 percent).
Making the top 10 were Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar (32.4), Meralco’s Baser Amer (30.71), Beerman Marcio Lassiter (30.19), GlobalPort’s Terrence Romeo (29.67) and Gin Kings guard LA Tenorio (29.56).
The Best Import race is also a close one with San Miguel’s Charles Rhodes, sixth in the SPs among imports, has an upper hand for the award. Semifinalist imports Ricardo Ratliffe (61.56) of Star, Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee (52.5) and Smith (41.4) of TNT are also in contention.