I think this is the first time in a decade that I’m going to predict a basketball-related using my gut… sans the numbers. I didn’t statistically follow the PBA this season. I had a lot of things working against me this season and losing PBA-Online for a time and the inconsistencies of the other online databases is another factor.
Then there was that period in which I got fed up in blogging. Sportsblog stopped with their monetary compensations and I didn’t see the need to waste my efforts.
Well, I fell in love with writing again.
Writing articles is the most strenuous love/hate relationship.
So here are my votes for The 2017 PBA Leo Awards.
Let’s just keep things simple. I have no idea why this award exists. I always thought this is a good award to receive for those who missed out on the other awards… that aren’t rule breakers or like Calvin Abueva or Beau Belga. Scottie Thompson could win this. Alex Cabagnot is another threat to win. I haven’t said Marcio Lassiter so he could be another name to watch for (although I need to check on whether or not he scored a technical foul this season… which ruins his shot). Or perhaps one of the Star players.
Defensive Player of the Year:
This is Chris Ross’ consolation prize for losing the MVP award. Oh? Spoiler alert. We’ll get to this later. For the countless times his trash talking spooked his foes resulting to steals and eventual assists via layups or jams… Ross is dangerous with the ball… and hunting for it. Joining Ross in the All-Defensive Team are probably June Mar Fajardo, swatting menace Japeth Aguilar, rebound genius Scottie Thompson, and hmmm… Chris Newsome?
Most Improved Player:
I want to say Anthony Semerad because of his sick corner threes. I know better though. There’s a reason why I have Baser Amer on my Mythical Team radar and I’m certain The Hammer will upstage Semerad as well as former NLEX teammate Kevin Alas in this category. Under Jimmy Alapag’s tutelage, the former San Beda guard erased a so-so rookie year with a stellar sophomore season.
But here’s the thing about this award. The PBA gives it to players with less than three years of experience. I don’t think a player who barely logged PBA time should win this award early in their careers. If we’re going to count the old players, then maybe we can have Allein Maliksi who did well for Star and Blackwater. Or perhaps Raymond Almazan. Hell, even Japeth Aguilar could be a name for this award.
But yeah, smart money has it on Baser Amer. So there.
Rookie of the Year:
I guess I’ll give this award for the top pick of the 2016 PBA Draft… which is every Gilas cadet selected in that godawful special round. But while Mac Belo had a good Philippine Cup and it’s hard not to mention the impressive exploits of Jio Jalalon, the Rookie of the Year race will be a tossup between TNT’s RR Pogoy and Phoenix’s Matthew Wright. The former Westports Malaysia Dragon is consistency personified and it feels as if he’s going to be the Danny Seigle of his generation (sans the hops). Meanwhile, Pogoy’s rise caused TNT to change their roster up with Larry Fonacier and Ranidel de Ocampo giving way for the new additions. As mentioned though, Wright is the more viable choice to win because TNT has a lot of scoring options.
Most Valuable Player:
This should be the last part of this article but… if it isn’t Chris Ross… then who else? June Mar Fajardo kept his friends close and his enemies closer. That enemy is no less than PBA Commissioner’s Cup Best Player of the Conference Chris Ross. This probably is Fajardo’s worst MVP year with injuries messing up his record and Ross on the verge of killing the four-season streak. I thought Ross had the advantage leading to the third conference but no thanks to the smaller imports as well as San Miguel’s import problem, June Mar had to deliver. As for Greg Slaughter, I think it’s obvious that he’ll lose the MVP award given his situation.
So June Mar Fajardo is about to turn 28 years old in November and he is set to become the league’s only back-to-back-to-back-to-back MVP!
Mythical First Team:
So The Kraken takes a spot since he’s the potential Most Valuable Player as well as the reigning PBA Philippine Cup Best Player. And then we have Chris Ross, the Commish Cup BPC who stepped his game up this season. I want to say Greg Slaughter but he only played one conference… and he plays the same position as June Mar. In his place, I am going to select Japeth Aguilar because in Slaughter’s absence, Japeth Like Its Hot delivered strong performance after strong performance. And then we can add perennial awardee Arwind Santos on this list. San Miguel gets a lot of love because they had two titles this season. And finally, let’s have Jayson Castro join the First Team. I know his recent Gilas Pilipinas stint isn’t the stuff of legends but he’s PBA elite… and he brought TNT to the finals.
Mythical Second Team:
Gregzilla takes his spot here and joining him is Ginebra’s boss playmaker LA Tenorio. And while technically he’s a point guard but let’s just have Alex Cabagnot on the other guard spot. C-Baggie did well as San Miguel’s resident clutch ace. And I need two other names to finish this list. Hmmm. Meralco’s Chris Newsome had an outstanding sophomore year so he’s one name. And while I should be looking for a big man like Troy Rosario, for some insane reason… I see Baser Amer messing up with my predictions. But then I’ll vote for Terrence Romeo. I know four guards (if you count Newsome as a guard) in a Mythical Team is insane, TR7 should get a vote for his Gilas Pilipinas awesome sauce.
So to cap it off, I have INCOMING FOUR-TIME MVP June Mar Fajardo leading Chris Ross, Arwind Santos, Jayson Castro, and Japeth Aguilar in the Mythical Five with LA Tenorio, Alex Cabagnot, Greg Slaughter, Chris Newsome, and Terrence Romeo in the Second Team. Baser Amer will bag Most Improved honors with Ross becoming the league’s top defensive player, Scottie Thompson getting the Sportsmanship plum, and Matthew Wright scoring the Top Newbie plum.
Oh hell yeah… testify.
So do you agree with my list? If so, you’re awesome. If not, then underneath this article is a message box. Maybe you can visit that part of the blog to tell me how wrong I am and how right you are.