Pretty eventfull week in the PBA this week, as we had more games than normal due to an additional Tuesday play date. As you all know, things got testy early on in the week as players from San Mig Coffee and Globalport received sanctions for participating in an on-court scuffle. Aside from that, both Petron and Barako continue their winning ways, while Meralco has turned on the defensive jets and is now sitting at the 3rd spot with three straight wins.
More games mean more material for us to sort through, so let’s see if we have surprises in this week’s set of PBA awards.
Best Player of the Conference
LA Tenorio (Previous Rank: Bubble)
Despite Ginebra’s up and down conference so far, Tenorio has managed to shine. In his team’s 1-1 week, he averaged 17.5 points, 8 rebounds, 11.5 assists and 2 steals. At this point, we can’t really ask for much more from Tenorio. It’s now up to his other local teammates to step-up to right the Gin Kings’ ship.
Arwind Santos (Previous Rank: 3)
In Petron’s statement win against Barako Bull, Santos led all local scorers with 20 points on 75% shooting from the field while adding three boards a steal and a block. The Blaze Boosters are on a tear right now and Santos’ 13.3 points and 7 rebounds and a block per game has given them a potent weapon that doesn’t need to use up many possessions to contribute.
Sonny Thoss (Previous Rank: N/A)
Behind the shadows of McKines and Abueva is Sonny Thoss. His methodological and workman-like approach to the game has allowed him to average 11.8 points, 8.4 boards and 2.8 assists per game for an Alaska team that has one of the most talented and crowded frontcourts in the league. One thing Joachim (gotta love that name) has to watch out for moving forward will be his fouls, as he’s averaging four whistles against per game this conference.
Bubble: Jayson Castro, Paul Lee, Marc Pingris, James Yap, Ranidel De Ocampo
Best Import of the Conference
Michael Singletary (Previous: 1)
After “settling” for 26 points in their loss against Petron, Singletary brought Barako back to the winning side by pouring in a conference high 43 points while peppering in 12 rebounds, 5 assists and a block in 44 minutes of action. Against Globalport, Singletary helped Barako claw back into the game by clanging in two treys in their blistering 4th quarter run. With the Energy Cola needing more scoring after lead guard Emman Monfort’s recent struggles, be prepared to see plenty more buckets from Mr. Singletary.
Elijah Millsap (Previous: 2)
Petron sits atop the team standings with Elijah Millsap leading the way with an all-around performance of 28.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game. There are those who say that Millsap has an “easy” job because of Petron’s local strength, but I counter that by asking them to imagine the Blaze Boosters with a bruiser like McKines or a heavy usage guy like Mitchell. Not sure if Petron’s a 5-1 team with those guys. With imports, it’s all about fit and the Blaze Boosters have played their hand pretty well this conference.
Wendell McKines (Previous: 3)
Mr Wednesday put up a dud in Alaska’s loss to Meralco (13 and 10), but quickly made up for it against TNT, dominating the TNT frontline towards a conference high 38 points, 16 rebounds (7 offensive) and 2 blocks. McKines continues to be defined by his relentless energy, especially on the offensive boards where he averages 6.2 a game.
Bubble: Markeith Cummings, Dior Lowhorn, Mario West
Rookie of the Conference
Cliff Hodge (Previous: 3)
It’s probably no coincidence that Meralco’s recent three game winning streak has coincided with an increase in Hodge’s playing time. Seeing the court for 32 minutes a game now, Hodge has averaged 13.6 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and 1.3 blocks per game during the Bolts winning streak. Alongside Hugnatan, they form a frontline that’s surely a pain in the ass to play against.
Calvin Abueva (Previous: Bubble)
With McKines playing Abueva’s role to a tee, it’s been difficult for Abueva to get a rhythm this conference. Still, the Beast is averaging 8.2 points, 10 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game for the Aces. Abueva is of course still a valuable piece for Alaska this conference as his versatility allows him to match-up with most players of the opposing team.
Eman Monfort (Previous: 3)
Tough week for Monfort as it looks like he’s officially hit a wall, going 0/5 from the field against Globalport. His 4.3 assists per game still leads Barako Bull so he remains a key cog in Barako’s winning ways. Let’s hope that this is just a temporary setback for the former Blue Eagle.
Bubble: June Mar Fajardo, Chris Tiu, Alex Mallari, Chris Ellis
Breakout Player of the Conference
Reynel Hugnatan (Previous: 2)
Hugnatan leads Meralco in rebounds and blocks. Hugnatan sprained his ankle late against Alaska on Tuesday, but played like nothing happened on Friday, outclassing a ROS frontline that included Belga, Quinahan and Reid. Why we haven’t seen this type of production from him in previous seasons boggles me right now.
John Wilson (Previous: N/A)
Another big reason for Meralco’s sudden surge is John Wilson who averaged 16.5 points and 5.5 boards this week for the Bolts. The best thing about Wilson’s scoring right now is his production from the line, where he went 11/17 in his last two games. With Cardona slowly coming back from injury, Wilson is showing Coach Gregorio that he deserves to keep the minutes he has now.
Jay Washington (Previous: 3)
Globalport has dropped their last three assignments, but Washington has been putting up the points for his team (14 and 9 in his last two games). However, the issue of efficiency remains for Washington as he made only 7/23 shots this week. While the Batang Pier need his scoring, they will need to balance that with better shot distribution for other players that may be more efficient from the field.
Bubble: Doug Kramer, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Sean Anthony, Emman Monfort
What do you guys think of our contenders for the PBA awards? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below!
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