For the first time in 26 years — or since the best player of the conference award was first instituted to become a regular feature in PBA program — there is no official candidate for the plum coming from two teams playing in the finals.
The teams of the top two in the statistics department did not make the semifinals, with the number 2 in the list unable to lead his team to the playoff, noted PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
The BPC award is given to the best local player at the end of each conference which was first awarded during the 1994 All-Filipino Conference, with Jerry Codinera of finalist Coney Island becoming the first recipient of the award.
“It’s now a wide-open race,” said Mangonon, referring to the BPC race which will be awarded on January 15 during Game 4 of the best-of-7 series for the Governors’ Cup between Meralco and Barangay Ginebra.
Owing to his sheer dominating performance, June Mar Fajardo is on top of the statistics and that’s despite failing to lead San Miguel Beer to the semifinal stage of the season-ending conference.
The most dominating center to ever make the pro-league, Fajardo, however, narrowly beat CJ Perez of Columbian Dyip with his average of 38.8 statistical points.
Perez showed why he was the top pick during the Rookie Draft of the season that’s about to end, coming away with a 37.2 average stats points, but even that failed to lead the Dyip to the playoff round.
Rounding out the top five leading candidates are NorthPort’s Christian Standhardinger, NLEX’s Kiefer Ravena and TNT KaTropa’s Jayson Castro.
Standhardinger (35.1 SPs) and Castro (31.6 SPs) are two candidates who were able to carry their teams to the semis, with Ravena, making up for lost time following his long FIBA suspension, coming in fifth at 34.5 SP.
Three Ginebra stalwarts in Stanley Pringle (30.8), Japeth Aguilar (29.9) and LA Tenorio (28.0) narrowly missed the Magic Five, together with TNT’s RR Pogoy (30.4) and Meralco’s Chris Newsome (29.8).
Tied with Tenorio at 10th spot is Magnolia’s Ian Sangalang (28.0) then comes another rookie in Bobby Ray Parks (27.5), followed by Raymond Almazan (27.4), Jeth Troy Rosario (27.0) and Matthew Wright (26.8) to round out the Top 15.
Meanwhile, two-time Governors’ Cup Best Import winner Allen Durham and one-time Commissioner’s Cup top reinforcement Justin Brownlee are again chief rivals for the coveted ware.
The other candidates for best import award are TNT’s KJ McDaniels and NorthPort’s Michael Qualls.
Fajardo collected averages of 19.3 points, 14.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.2 blocks to contend for a second BPC award in the season following his BPC victory in the all-Filipino tourney.
Castro, the Commissioner’s Cup best player, normed 14.9 markers, 5.9 dish-offs, 4.4 boards and 1.7 steals.