PBA Best player race week 4-5: Towers of power
MANILA, Philippines – June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar - easily the two most potent big men in Philippine basketball today - take the spotlight in this edition of the Rappler PBA best player race.
1. (Last week: 3) June Mar Fajardo, Petron Blaze Boosters (▲)
15.5 PPG, 17.3 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.4 SPG, 3 BPG, 50% FGs, 46.33 EFF
June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar are the two most consistent players in the Philippine Cup. I gave Fajardo the top spot this week because he has been a double-double machine. He is Petron’s pillar of strength; sadly, he’ll have to sit out for the next few games due to a knee injury.
2. (Last week: 1) Japeth Aguilar, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (▼)
19.8 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.4 SPG, 4 BPG, 52.7% FGs, 44.03 EFF
Aguilar also possesses that winning attitude that makes him such a terrific athlete. In terms of scoring, he’s the steadiest among the Ginebra crew, and his aggressiveness is a nightmare for every opponent.
3. (Last week: 2) Jayson Castro, Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters (▼)
20.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 5 APG, 1 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 42.9 3-PT FGs, 85.4% FTs, 40.38 EFF
Let’s face it, Castro is the fastest player in the league and maybe even in all of Asia. He leaves his defenders biting the dust, but what impresses me is his outside shooting this conference. He’s shooting close to 43% from three-point land which is very high especially becayse he’s not really considered a dead-eye from downtown. Having that weapon in his arsenal makes him even harder to stop.
4. (Last week: 4) Jay Washington, GlobalPort Batang Pier (--)
19.1 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 80.4% FTs, 41.44 EFF
Speaking of consistency, Jay Washington is part of an elite list of players who maintain a double-double average in the Philippine Cup. He’s a matchup problem for any team’s frontcourt. And we like to emphasize that when he won the Best Player of the Conference award, his numbers were not even as high as what he’s been showing right now.
5. (Last week: 5) Sol Mercado, GlobalPort Batang Pier (--)
19.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 4.6 APG, 0.8 SPG, 36.2 EFF
After narrowly beating Globalport, San Mig Coffee head coach Tim Cone admitted that Sol Mercado is playing like an MVP. Mercado is just hard to stop on single coverage and has little to no problem breaking down defenses. He and Washington are clearly the main reasons why Globalport remains in the middle of the team standings.
6. (Last week: 7) LA Tenorio, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (▲)
12 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 7.8 APG, 1.8 SPG, 32.68 EFF
Many projected that LA Tenorio will be Jimmy Alapag’s successor as the best point guard in the country. Against Alaska, Tenorio showed why he deserves that tag. He scored 10 points in the first period over several Aces, schooling them one by one. Among his moves were a tightly-contested finger roll and step-back triple. For someone 5-foot-8, Tenorio is showing a tremendous performance every single night.
7. (Last week: 3) Arwind Santos, Petron Blaze Boosters (▼)
16 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1 SPG, 1.6 BPG, 38.54 EFF
The reigning MVP is showing us why he deserves the distinction. Arwind Santos is still one of the key reasons why Petron is on top, and since Fajardo will be sidelined for the next two weeks, I’m sure Santos will step up big time.
8. (Last week: 11) Mark Barroca, San Mig Coffee Mixers (▲)
16.4 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.8 APG, 2.5 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 70.7% FTs, 36.13 EFF
Ever since arriving in San Mig Coffee (then BMeg Llamados), Barroca has been projected to be the franchise’s finest court general. So far he’s doing a splendid job of manning the point. He’s the leading scorer for the Mixers; he is one of the best rebounding backcourt players, and is the league’s steals leader. He is averaging almost 40 minutes an outing too; since Justin Melton will be back this week, Barroca should get the rest that he deserves.
9. (Last week: 9) Mike Cortez, Meralco Bolts (--)
12.7 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 6.6 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 40% 3-PT FGs, 54.1% FGs, 100% FTs, 33.32 EFF
Mike Cortez is having a career season so far. He’s leading the team in assists and is shooting at a very accurate clip on the court. More than the numbers, it’s Cortez’s leadership which Meralco needs the most if they want to succeed this year.
10. (Last week: 6) Chris Lutz, Petron Blaze Boosters (▼)
15.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1 SPG, 30.82 EFF
Chris Lutz completes the list of Boosters in the Top 10. He’s the best backcourt player for Petron right now. The main concern however is that Lutz is averaging more than 4 turnovers a game. That’s something he needs to solve in order to be a more efficient player.
The next 5
11. Greg Slaughter, Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel – 15 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.3 SPG, 2 BPG, 37.94 EFF
12. Mark Pingris, San Mig Coffee Mixers – 11.6 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 3.8 APG, 0.6 SPG, 1 BPG, 34.21 EFF
13. Asi Taulava, Air21 Express – 10.9 PPG, 13 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 33.1 EFF
14. Joseph Yeo, Air21 Express – 15 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.8 APG, 0.2 SPG, 32.50 EFF
15. Marcio Lassiter, Petron Blaze Boosters – 15.3 PPG, 4 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 30.39 EFF
16. Sonny Thoss, Alaska Aces – 14.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 2.6 APG, 0.4 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 34.59 EFF
17. Ranidel De Ocampo, Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters – 13.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.8 BPG, 30.72 EFF
18. Alex Cabagnot, Petron Blaze Boosters – 14.3 PPG, 5 RPG, 5 APG, 0.3 SPG, 32.49 EFF
19. Gabby Espinas, Alaska Aces – 10.1 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 2 APG, 0.3 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 31.1 EFF
20. Gary David, Meralco Bolts – 16.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.3 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 30.15 EFF
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