PBA Philippine Cup Player Rankings

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A look at the top five candidates for Best Player of the Conference award

With the Philippine Cup playoffs coming in a few weeks, I think it’s only right we mention a handful of players who are having an outstanding conference so far.

 

Based on the statistics through November 22, here are the top five candidates for the Best Player of the Conference award:

 

1. Arwind Santos, Petron Blaze Boosters PF

Team Record

MINS

3PT %

FG %

FT%

PTS

REBS

AST

STL

BLK

TO

5-6

34.0

.310

0.463

0.571

17.5

12.3

1.9

1.2

1.4

2.1

Arwind Santos is averaging career highs in points and rebounds this year. His teammates may have slacked off during Petron’s losing streak, but Santos’ tenacity on the court did not fade. He has scored in double-figures in all of the team’s 11 games in the Philippine Cup and has hauled down double-figure rebounds in the last seven. Sadly his effort on the floor hasn’t translated to wins for Petron. If the Boosters can rack up some wins and garner a top seed heading into the playoffs, ‘The Spiderman’ should be a shoo-in for the award.

 

2. James Yap, San Mig Coffee Mixers SF

Team Record

MINS

3PT %

FG %

FT%

PTS

REBS

AST

STL

BLK

TO

7-3

33.3

0.304

0.411

0.707

18.1

4.8

1.8

0.5

0.1

2.0

Commissioner Chito Salud labeled James Yap as the ‘Face of the PBA’, so what good is this list if it doesn’t have him on it? San Mig Coffee is currently third in the team standings and Yap has been the catalyst in their Philippine Cup campaign. With a year under Coach Tim Cone, he’s had time to adjust to the system. He doesn’t force his shots as much as he did in the last two conferences and is learning to choose his spots on the offense where he can be most effective.  Now if the Mixers can make him play defense, this would be no contest.

 

3. Mark Caguioa, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel SG

Team Record

MINS

3PT %

FG %

FT%

PTS

REBS

AST

STL

BLK

TO

5-5

33.0

0.289

0.402

0.763

19.6

4.7

2.0

1.1

0.1

2.6

Already in his 11th season, Mark Caguioa looks like he hasn’t lost a beat. The reigning MVP has regained his confidence and is working wonders for the Barangay Ginebra franchise this conference. The crowd’s most favorite Ginebra player is averaging 19.6 points a game – his highest since the 2007-2008 season. But Caguioa hasn’t been shooting particularly well and his team is in the midst of finding consistency, factors that might hurt his chances of bagging the award he won in the last two conferences.

 

4. Jeff Chan, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters SG

Team Record

MINS

3PT %

FG %

FT%

PTS

REBS

AST

STL

BLK

TO

8-3

30.0

0.340

0.442

0.761

18.9

3.5

1.7

0.8

0.3

1.9

You’d think that with the absences of Rookie of the Year Paul Lee and 2012 first round pick Chris Tiu, Rain or Shine would suffer in the Philippine Cup. Well, they aren’t, and Jeff Chan is the reason why. The sharpshooter took it upon himself to be the main gunner for the Elasto Painters. Chan’s outside touch is as smooth as a baby’s behind and is unguardable once he gets in the zone. In this conference, Coach Yeng Guiao has called his number many times in the clutch and Chan would always come through. Now you know why Rain or Shine is the second best team in the league. 

 

5. Sol Mercado, Meralco Bolts PG

Team Record

MINS

3PT %

FG %

FT%

PTS

REBS

AST

STL

BLK

TO

5-5

35.6

0.386

0.417

0.714

21.2

3.1

6.3

1.1

0.2

3.8

Undeniably, most coaches would be scratching their heads every time their team would go up against a player who leads the league in scoring and assists. That’s what Sol Mercado brings every night for Meralco. With Mac Cardona taking a slight backseat in terms of scoring, Mercado has risen to the challenge in running the show for the Bolts. He has honed his playmaking skills and, despite the high number in turnovers, is having a career year. I guess his stint with Smart-Gilas team during the offseason is paying off.

 

Honorable Mentions

Chris Lutz, Petron Blaze Boosters SF

Team Record

MINS

3PT %

FG %

FT%

PTS

REBS

AST

STL

BLK

TO

5-6

36.9

0.425

0.463

0.810

16.6

5.8

5.3

0.6

0.1

1.9

Chris Lutz doesn’t believe in the sophomore jinx. He’s raised his game across the board and has been shooting the lights out from beyond the arc. The sophomore forward is a multi-dimensional player who has a high basketball IQ. He’s got a knack for getting in the paint with ease and can be relied upon to knock down open shots. With Alex Cabagnot performing below par this conference, Lutz has carried some of the offensive load and is the only guy not named Arwind Santos who’s been consistent for the Boosters.

 

Jayson Castro, Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters PG

Team Record

MINS

3PT %

FG %

FT%

PTS

REBS

AST

STL

BLK

TO

8-2

30.6

0.412

0.468

0.774

15.7

3.4

4.0

0.8

0.1

2.3

Talk N’ Text is at the top of the league standings, so it would be wrong to omit Jayson Castro in this discussion. The little things Castro does on the floor for Talk N Text aren’t seen in the stat sheet but the physical and mental toughness he brings onto the court is extremely beneficiary to their success. In late-game situations, Castro is TNT’s go-to-guy and has delivered most of the time. As the end of the eliminations near, the Texters will need Castro to stay aggressive if they plan to make it back to the Finals.

 

JC Ansis JC Ansis @jcansis


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