This Friday, PBA will finally reveal the recipient of the individual awards this season. Before we reach that day, let me give mine. I will take the awards as literal as it is. Today, we will give our Most VALUABLE Player award.
Most Valuable Player is different from the Best Player. Valuable means something of a great worth. That worth means their value to the success of their team. Let me emphasize the word success. We are talking league-wide MVP here so the success of your team magnifies your value.
The Philippine Cup will have the greatest value for me because it involves all qualified players without the help of reinforcement.
#5 JAPETH AGUILAR
Ginebra is currently on a tight series against Meralco in the Governors' Cup but even if they fail to triumph, Ginebra faithfuls should consider this season a success. They are the third best team this season, in terms of aggregate standings.
Aguilar has been their most consistent player in both ends of the court. In elimination rounds of the three conferences, Japeth produced 14.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 52.7% FG in 30.2 minutes of play. What made him more impressive was his 96.4 Defensive Rating which is much better than June Mar Fajardo.
One more thing to add to his credentials are his buzzer beaters that save his team more than once this year. Japeth doesn't standout in a single area but in totality, he is very solid this season.
(c) PBA Media Bureau
#4 JERICHO CRUZ
I hope you still remember that Rain or Shine won the 2016 Commissioner's Cup and they reached the semifinals in the Philippine Cup. Jericho has been their main protagonist all throughout the season.
He contributed 12.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 49.3% FG and 36.7% 3FG in 24.3 minutes of play. If you convert that to 36 minutes of play, you will get 18.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
In their championship run last conference, Jericho was their main man in the playoffs. He has the highest usage right at 23.8% and he also posted the highest PER in his team at 23.2. In 24.0 minutes of play, he manufactured 13.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 49.6% FG and 46% 3FG.
#3 JAYSON CASTRO
If we add the Philippine team into consideration, Castro is no doubt the Most Valuable Player this year. Unfortunately, his efforts and hard work was only enough to help his team reached one semifinals this season.
This season, The Blur put up his best numbers in assists and points. He averaged 20.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 42.2% FG and 34.2% 3FG. He was not only effective on the offensive end but he was also respectable on defense with 100.3 Defensive Rating on elimination round.
What he did this Governors Cup was extra-special because he literally played the role of an import! He manufactured 23.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 37.2% 3FG per game. If my memory serves me right, he literally carried his team at least four times in the 4th quarter to win.
#2 CALVIN ABUEVA
No matter how you see it, Alaska has the most heartbreaking season after reaching the Finals twice but failing to win and then failing to reach the semis this conference even with a very good import. Nevertheless, Calvin was special this season. He posted 15.6 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 33.3% 3FG and 43.6% FG per game.
One thing that stand out in his game this season was his shooting from beyond the arc. He connected in 52 tries this season after aggregating 35 connections in his first three seasons.
On the defensive end, Calvin Abueva posted the best Defensive Rating in the league in the elimination round and in the playoffs, 91.1 and 93.4, respectively.
If you are not impress yet, here is the statline of The Beast per 36 minutes: 22.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
(c) PBA Media Bureau
#1 JUNE MAR FAJARDO
The value of a June Mar Fajardo can be sum up in two questions. #1, In the history of the league, which player will you choose to build your franchise around? Don't tell me Fajardo is not on your first three choices because if he wasn't you don't know basketball.
#2, are you impress with this year's production of Fajardo, 19.7 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 57.3% FG? I will not be shock if your answer is no because he was very consistent in providing those double-double averages in the last three seasons.
That 19.7 points, is his highest in his career and that is 2.3 points higher than last season and mind you, his minutes were down by 1.1.
Lastly, Fajardo posted a net rating of 13.2 in the elimination round and 11.5 in the playoffs. That basically means that San Miguel outscored their opponent by 13.2/11.5 when he was in the court, per 100 possessions.