It doesn’t get any better than this.

For the past few iterations of the MVP Watch, the top three slots have been shared by Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Ferrer, and Ed Daquioag. Despite them being in the top three consistently, the race has been tight. At any time, Jeron Teng could have snatched away the #2 slot from Ferrer. Alfred Aroga could have silently sneaked into the top three and knocked Easy Ed from his slot. It’s been that close.

It’s a far cry from the blowout which happened in last year’s race. Sure Jeron gave Kiefer a scare, but otherwise, it was Kiefer’s award to lose. But this season, that hasn’t been the case.

Now it’s crunch time.

It’s time to see who will step up for their teams. With a hotly contested race for the Final Four, the stakes have never been higher. In times like these, we get to see who the real heroes are. We get to see their true value. So who leads the race for the MVP award as crunch time begins?

Let’s get started.

1. Kiefer Ravena, Ateneo Blue Eagles 

Previous rank: 1
So, you having fun trying to stop me Rev?

So, you having fun trying to stop me Rev? // Patrick Gunnacao for HumbleBola

Points Per Game Rebounds Per Game Assists Per Game Steals Per Game Blocks Per Game Win Shares
 18.5 6.3 5.1 1.3 0.7 2.5

Despite the ankle issue, the reduced amount of field goal attempts, free throw struggles, and the production which was gone down, Kiefer Ravena has found a way to separate himself from the pack. How? By just being himself. As simple as that. The very fact that he’s Kiefer Ravena, he’s able to attract defenses in an instant. It’s like once Kiefer’s on the floor, defenders immediately attach onto him as if they were 18-year old girls who want his autograph. Kiefer hasn’t been forcing it either. He’s been calm, cool, and collected when it’s come to facing the mob of err…. boys who defend him. You know what? It has led to Ateneo playing arguably the best basketball in the league right now.

2. Ed Daquioag, UST Growling Tigers

Previous rank: 2
The face of frustration beckons.

The face of frustration beckons. // Patrick Gunnacao for HumbleBola

Points Per Game Rebounds Per Game Assists Per Game Steals Per Game Blocks Per Game Win Shares
 17.3 5.3 2.5 1.2 0.7 1.7

It’s been a struggle for UST as of late. Despite that, they somehow find themselves having three Growling Tigers in this list. How? Well, Ed stays at #2 for the reason that among the three, he’s been the one who has remained the most consistent in their recent slump. It helps that his primary role in the team is as a slasher, so that leads to him getting to the charity stripe or attempting better shots. It hasn’t been all fun for Easy Ed, however. He hasn’t been able to produce as much as he has. Maybe that’s just me nitpicking because I’ve gotten so used to his dominant performances. If the Growling Tigers want a chance at the championship, they need those Daquioag’s dominant performances again.

3. Kevin Ferrer, UST Growling Tigers

Previous rank: 3
KFer hasn't been able to make shots like this recently.

KFer hasn’t been able to make shots like this recently. // Patrick Gunnacao for HumbleBola

Points Per Game Rebounds Per Game Assists Per Game Steals Per Game Blocks Per Game Win Shares
 17.1 8.3 1.7 0.8 0.4 2.9

What happened? I’ll be honest, I wanted to drop Ferrer to as low as fifth when it came to these rankings, but his performance against UP helped him stay within the top three. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to be here for long, especially given how he has performed recently. Is it a matter of defenses starting to figure him out? Is Kevin just on a slump? I don’t know. But this isn’t the Kevin Ferrer that made the Growling Tigers look mighty and strong early in the season. They need the Kevin Ferrer that torched Ateneo for six three pointers, and then some. They need that KFer. Fast.

4. Karim Abdul, UST Growling Tigers 

Previous rank: NR
Karim has been trying hard to bring UST back up. Really hard.

Karim has been trying hard to bring UST back up. Really hard. // Patrick Gunnacao for HumbleBola

Points Per Game Rebounds Per Game Assists Per Game Steals Per Game Blocks Per Game Win Shares
 12.1 9.1 1.1 0.5 1.4 1.7

For all the struggles of Ed and Kevin, Karim Abdul has been balling. Looks like he’s finally shed the lechon which he had during the preseason. He’s been more explosive when it comes to his movements, plus, he’s been more aggressive in the offensive end. Instead of being content with outside jumpers, Karim now goes into the hoop for the more efficient basket. It’s been so smooth for him. Vintage Karim Abdul. Parang Cream Silk lang. Karim Silk. For UST, this is a good sign. He is finally locked and loaded. All set for the Final Four. You know what would be better? If Karim, Ed, and Kevin were ALL locked and loaded. Good luck stopping that.

5a. Mac Belo, FEU Tamaraws

Previous rank: NR
FEU's been struggling (to some extent) lately, but hey, Mac Belo has been solid.

FEU’s been struggling (to some extent) lately, but hey, Mac Belo has been solid. // Patrick Gunnacao for HumbleBola

Points Per Game Rebounds Per Game Assists Per Game Steals Per Game Blocks Per Game Win Shares
 13.5 5.9 2.5 0.6 1.2 1.9

I feel horrible. Why the heck am I placing an FEU Tamaraw in the MVP Watch? It’s like giving the MVP award to a San Antonio Spur. It’s like someone from Alaska hoarding all the stats. It feels so wrong. But it had to be done, because Mac Belo has been balling as of late. Actually, he’s been balling all season. Not in the “OH CRAP IT’S BELO AGAIN” way which destroyed teams last year, but in the “oh God it’s Mac another Tamaraw who can kill us” way which has led to the Tamaraws dominating. Plus, Jeron and the Archers are struggling, so that helps.

5b. Alfred Aroga, NU Bulldogs

Previous rank: 5
Alfred showing his teammates how to shoot a jump shot. Ganito lang.

Alfred showing his teammates how to shoot a jump shot. Ganito lang. // Patrick Gunnacao for HumbleBola

Points Per Game Rebounds Per Game Assists Per Game Steals Per Game Blocks Per Game Win Shares
 12.8 12.6 1.8 0.5 1.7 1.9

Well look at that, Alfred Aroga isn’t the only one scoring for the Bulldogs now. Somehow, Jjay Alejandro has found his stroke to back up the Cameroonian big man. No matter. Undoubtedly, Aroga still remains very valuable for his team. Same same. Not much has to be said. We all know what he does. I don’t think that will change any time soon. Aside from Kiefer, he has remained steady this season, and the only thing stopping me from placing him higher is that the Bulldogs have a low record, and well, Alfred’s usage is insanely high. So Bulldogs (You guys have an O right?), you have your work cut out for you.

 

Next Five: Jeron Teng (DLSU Green Archers), Von Pessumal (Ateneo Blue Eagles), Gelo Alolino (NU Bulld0gs), Papi Sarr (Adamson Soaring Falcons), Mike Tolomia (FEU Tamaraws)