The PBA Season 44 MVP derby is down to a slugfest among the season’s Best Player of the Conference winners and the top rookie that wowed the league like a grizzled showman.
June Mar Fajardo is in line to stretch his record reign as PBA MVP to a sixth straight year. The San Miguel Beer ace behemoth is right in the exciting MVP race versus TNT KaTropa’s Jayson Castro, NorthPort’s Christian Standardinger, and Columbian Dyip’s CJ Perez.
The season’s top performer will be awarded the coveted ware during the Leo Awards that usher in PBA Season 45 inaugurals on March 1.
Fajardo bagged the Philippine Cup BPC award; Castro took the BPC honors in the midseason Commissioner’s Cup; then Standhardinger had his own BPC coronation in the Governors Cup. Meanwhile, Perez contended for the top player award in two conferences.
Stats-wise, Fajardo and Perez lead the pack. The SMB star has piled up a whopping statistical points average of 39.6, while the Columbian Dyip super rookie comes through with 33.47 SPs per game.
Perez even led all comers in scoring, emerging as the league’s new scoring champ with 20.8 ppg. Matthew Wright was a close second with 18.89, followed by Fajardo (18.87).
Castro barely missed the Top Five with 31.5 per outing, while Standhardinger came in 16th with 26.7.
NorthPort’s Sean Anthony (33.46), Ginebra’s Stanley Pringle (31.8) and TNT’s Roger Pogoy (31.7) finished third, fourth and fifth in the stats race, thus putting themselves in good positions to make the Mythical Selections.
Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar (29.9) came at seventh, followed by Wright (29.0); Magnolia’s Ian Sangalang (28.7); and SMB’s Moala Tautuaa (27.5) to round out the Magic 10.
In the race for the Mythical First Team and Second Team are players in the Top 25.
Others making the list Troy Rosario (TNT), Scottie Thompson (Ginebra), Alex Cabagnot (SMB), Robert Bolick (NorthPort), Rashawn McCarthy (Columbian), Jeron Teng (Alaska), Chris Ross (SMB), Paul Lee (Magnolia), LA Tenorio (Ginebra), Poy Erram (NLEX), Chris Banchero (Magnolia), Arwind Santos (SMB) and Greg Slaughter (Ginebra).
As MVP contender, Perez is the top favorite for the Rookie of the Year award.
His closest rivals are Bolick, Javee Mocon and Bobby Ray Parks.
The Leo Awards also feature the winners of the Most Improved Player, the Sportsmanship Award, and the All-Defensive Team.