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Hoop Nut One-on-One: Who’s your early season PBA MVP?

Rolly Mendoza
The semis are here and among the top teams, you have San Miguel Beer and the Alaska Aces. Not a surprise but June Mar Fajardo is the leading candidate for BPC and MVP. Now, here’s the surprise. How about Calvin Abueva of the Aces?

Enzo Flojo
I’m personally with Team Abueva. I mean, look at what he has to work with? The Aces aren’t chumps, but compared to SMB’s roster? Come on. Can we honestly say Fajardo could have the same effect if he were in Alaska?

Rolly Mendoza
Oh no! Here you go again with the theoretical “team swap” question which is tough to prove or disprove…

However, I can somewhat agree that Abueva has less talent to work with which probably improves his numbers. If Calvin played for SMB, his skills or playing time will definitely be shared with numerous guys like Arwin Santos, Doug Kramer, Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz. Thus, expect lower numbers for Abueva.

Now, if Fajardo played for Alaska, he has Sam Eman, Vic Manuel and Sonny Thoss to compete with. Can we agree that among that bunch, Fajardo is the best choice at center, even the best offensive player on the team? Thus, more minutes and touches.

Enzo Flojo
Wait, wait. Are you saying Fajardo is better than Sam Eman? Come on.

eman11 Hoop Nut One-on-One: Who's your early season PBA MVP?  - philippine sports news

Sam Eman?! Photo from

Haha okay that was funny!

I actually want to credit Alex Compton for discarding the triangle offense and really imposing a system that maximizes Calvin Abueva’s skill set. Would Abueva have the same treatment in SMB? Not sure, since so many other superstars would probably want their touches, too.

I also think that, somehow, Fajardo actually has a bit of a negative effect on his teammates. I mean, Sol Mercado and Chris Ross both aren’t maximized because their penetrations aren’t as effective with a 6’10 behemoth crowding the paint.

If Fajardo were with Alaska, I think he would actually do well. Thoss would slide down to the 4 spot and the Aces’ plethora of shooters would have a field day hoisting those long toms and having two legit bigs cleaning the glass.

Bottom-line: If Abueva’s energy and aggressiveness were injected into SMB, the Beermen would be much tougher in the clutch. I cannot say the same for Fajardo, even if the big guy should, on paper, have a net positive effect on a team like Alaska.

Rolly Mendoza
pba98 Hoop Nut One-on-One: Who's your early season PBA MVP?  - philippine sports news
Coach Alex and Abueva definitely made major strides this conference. The Aces will go far as long as Abueva continues to play well, but can he remain consistent? Also, his mean streak and cockiness might get him in trouble sooner or later so that will always be a delicate situation with him.

To his credit, I believe “The Beast” leads the league in double-doubles and 20-20 games. Those are definitely huge surprises because Abueva had a subpar and lackluster season a year ago. Heck, Smart Gilas did not even consider him on their team because of his attitude and personality.

However, this year has been different so far. I think Abueva can absolutely win Best Player of the Conference but the season-long MVP trophy may not go in his favor because Abueva might struggle when playing against imports in the other two conferences. He also normally defends imports so getting into foul trouble (and skirmishes) may limit his minutes and numbers.
pba193 Hoop Nut One-on-One: Who's your early season PBA MVP?  - philippine sports newsOn the other hand, June Mar has a much better offensive repertoire and playing versus bigger imports may not slow down his scoring ability. The MVP award puts a lot of stock into numbers and statistical points added when more games are played and won. They benefit Fajardo more than Abueva.

Enzo Flojo
(next day) 7:00ampba126 Hoop Nut One-on-One: Who's your early season PBA MVP?  - philippine sports newsHey, Alaska just beat Meralco black and blue! Who else thinks the Aces are in for a magical run? I for one want to see them go all the way. Here’s hoping Abueva continues putting up MVP-ish numbers to push Alaska past ROS and into a possible confrontation with Fajardo’s Beermen in the Finals!

Rolly Mendoza

PBA-IMAGE51-699x1024 Hoop Nut One-on-One: Who's your early season PBA MVP?  - philippine sports newsOh I’d love to see Alaska vs SMB in the Finals! Thoss going up against Fajardo and Abueva versus Santos. Currently, June Mar is leading all players in statistical points for the BPC. Fajardo also has the best scoring average and 2nd in rebounding. On the other hand, Abueva is tops in rebounds and tied for 2nd in scoring. This race is very close.

Enzo Flojo
In the end, though, on whom would you put your money? If I had a media vote (wink wink), I would 100% give it to Abueva. Statistically, June Mar talaga may edge e, but if it’s about the value to the team, mas Abueva talaga ako.

Rolly Mendoza
For this conference, I would give Abueva the edge. He does more on defense and his personality can influence his team to perform better. Abueva is the ideal example of someone you hate (or loathe) playing against with BUT you would love him as a teammate.

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