All teams now have played four games apiece after more than two weeks. Things are getting clearer now as to which players are making waves, but it still remains a very wide open race for the coveted Season 76 Most Valuable player plum.
Three players from last week’s rankings did not make it to this week’s list. It is unfortunate that Jeric Teng had to miss the second half versus NU and the game against UE after suffering a shoulder injury (thanks or no thanks to Geoffrey Javillonar). Meanwhile, Adamson’s Jericho Cruz and NU’s Emmanuel Mbe managed to chalk up decent numbers in their two games this week, but they were shadowed by the newcomers in the list, which are by no means unfamiliar with MVP as they had already managed to seize the trophy before.
Let’s take a look at this week’s list:
5. RR Garcia, FEU
Season 76 Stats: 16.3 ppg, 47.7% TS, 4.8rpg, 3.0 apg, 31.5 mpg
The Season 73 MVP has been showing signs of old form with a great start this season as one-third of the killer FEU backcourt along with Terrence Romeo and Mike Tolomia. And in their last game against DLSU, he was instrumental in that comeback or collapse (depends which you’re on) as he poured 12 points in the fourth quarter and in the overtime.
It is great to see RR Garcia playing at the topnotch level we’ve come to expect from him. He’s not a former MVP of this league for no reason and it is safe to say that he made the right decision to play out his final year of eligibility at the collegiate ranks before testing out the waters over at the pros.
4. Ryan Buenafe, ADMU
Season 76 Stats: 15.3ppg, 46.0% TS, 10.8rpg, 5.0 apg, 34.0 mpg
Finally, Ateneo gets their first win. So I guess no more comparisons with UP, right?
In the well-balanced offensive attack of Ateneo against Adamson, Ryan Buenafe’s numbers were salivating (probably in the same way he salivates when he smells freshly cooked bacon) as he tallied 11 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. Buenafe has been doing it all for his team, with an 6/24/15 rebounding split so far in the season being pretty remarkable. He has also assisted on 34% of his teammates’ field goals when he is on the court. Something that shows his maturity on the court since defenses were already starting to overplay him.
It will be interesting to see how he will fare as soon as Kiefer is fully recovered with his injury. But for now, let us enjoy the Ryan Buenafe Show for the Blue Eagles.
3. Bobby Ray Parks, NU
Season 76 Stats: 17.8ppg, 44.5% TS, 7.8rpg, 4.8 apg, 32.8 mpg
Due to his lackluster performance against UE, two-time reigning MVP Bobby Ray Parks missed the last week’s list. But he made it seem like it was eons ago after coming back strong in NU’s two wins this week.
Parks posted back-to-back all-around stats as he put on 20 points, six rebounds and six assists against erstwhile unbeaten UST Growling Tigers; and 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists against the winless UP Fighting Maroons. What’s impressive about him this season is that he has been sharing the ball more with his teammates as evidenced by his 32% assist rate when he was on the floor.
2. Roi Sumang, UE (Previous Rank: 2)
Season 76 Stats: 22.0 ppg, 54.1% TS, 4.3 rpg, 3.5 apg, 33.3 mpg
UE lost twice this week. Some might think that there is no way a Red Warrior from this season would make it to the MVP cut, but you cannot simply disregard Shejroi (love that name, very Filipino) Sumang’s fantastic and ridiculous performances in UE’s 2nd half rallies.
Against Adamson, he sizzled for 18 of his 26 points in the 2nd half to spark a near comeback from a deficit as high as 30. And in the game versus UST, without center Charles Mammie, UE managed to keep the Tigers at bay, largely thanks to another Sumang’s 2ns half explosion with 19 of his 21 points scored after the break. With the back-to-back splendid second half performance, one must be wondering what is Sumang doing at the locker room during halftime break. Could he be talking to his sideburn? Drinking MJ’s secret stuff? Whatever it is, I want some of it!
1. Terrence Romeo, FEU (Previous Rank: 1)
Season 76 Stats: 22.3 ppg, 50.2% TS, 8.5 rpg, 5.3 apg, 29.5 mpg
FEU was 108 seconds of basketball away from blemishing their perfect start this season. But Terrence Romeo simply did not give up as he knocked down two quick triples to instigate a 12-o run to force the overtime and steal the victory away from DLSU.
Romeo finished the game with 25 points, four rebounds and five assists, but what really mattered most aside from his impressive numbers was his feistiness on the court that lifted his teammates to put on that masterful comeback. It’s this unquantifiable tenacity really separates him from the rest of the MVP contenders right now, as it looks like he’s definitely the engine that’s driving the Tamaraws forward at this point. Plus, it did not also weaken his MVP case that FEU is now sitting pretty and unscathed atop of the team standings.