THE race for best player of the conference award has never been this interesting as the five leading contenders are all non-winners.
Christian Standhardinger, Paul Lee, Chris Banchero, Stanley Pringle and Japeth Aguilar are the top contenders for the coveted plum which will be awarded before Game 4 of the best-of-7 finals showdown for PBA Governors’ Cup between Magnolia and Alaska.
Playing nowhere like a rookie, Standhardinger averaged with 22.8 points and 13.4 rebounds in the tournament, and garnered a 41.9 Statistical Points (SP) to lead the statistical race.
However, the 6-foot-8 Fil-German carried San Miguel Beer no farther than the quarterfinal round of the season-ending conference, putting a big question mark on his bid.
The Beermen made the quarterfinal round needing to win twice over Alaska – a task they failed to accomplish after they were beaten by the Aces right away.
Pringle of NorthPort and Aguilar Barangay Ginebra are running second and third, respectively, in the stats.
But like Standhardinger, the sweet-shooting Pringle failed to carry his team to the playoff round.
Aguilar on the other hand has his own drawback in the race after the Gin Kings failed to make past the semifinal round.
Banchero was third through the eliminations in the stats but failed to sustain it after suffering an ankle injury in their last game in the elimination.
But Lee (31.64 SPs) and Banchero (31.56 SPs) could give Standhardinger a big run for the money as the two are playing in the finals.
Going into the finals, Lee averaged 17.64 points, 4.43 rebounds, 3.14 assists and 1.86 steals while Banchero averaged 14.4 markers, 4.6 rebounds and tournament-best 7.13 assists.
Aside from stats, the other basis for determining the BPC winner are the votes from media people religiously covering the league, fellow players and the PBA office.
Meanwhile, the Best Import award has essentially become a toss-up between Alaska Milk’s Mike Harris and Magnolia’s Romeo Travis.
Barangay Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee, Phoenix Petroleum’s Eugene Phelps, Meralco’s Allen Durham, NLEX’s Aaron Fuller and Blackwater’s Henry Walker had all been strong bets until their teams moved out of the title hunt one after another.
Harris is ahead of Travis with his whopping averages of 30.31 points, 20.69 rebounds, 2.81 assists, 1.13 steals and 1.00 block.
The Magnolia import on the other hand norms 24.5 markers, 14.8 boards, 4.81 dish-offs and 2.0 steals.