Tight race seen for PBA season 36 MVP award
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Talk 'N Text may be the most successful team in the PBA's 36th season, but none among the Tropang Texters are among the contenders for the league's highest individual honor.
B-MEG's Joe Devance, Petron's Arwind Santos and Meralco's Sol Mercado are currently in a three-way fight for the coveted Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, the winner of which will be known on Sunday in Game 4 of the Petron-Talk 'N Text Governors Cup Finals.
Devance, acquired by the Llamados in the Jay-R Reyes trade before the opening of the season-ending conference, currently leads the statistical points (SP) race with 31.89 or just .80 SPs ahead of Santos, who is in close second and expected to claim the Best Player of the Conference award.
Mercado, taken by Meralco in a trade with Rain or Shine in exchange for Ronjay Buenafe, Beau Belga and Ronnie Matias before the Governors Cup, occupies the third spot with 29.41 SPs.
Rounding up the top five of what could be the closest and wide-open MVP race is Petron's injured forward Jay Washington (28.25 SPs) and two-time winner James Yap of B-MEG (28.17 SPs).
For all the titles it won this season, no player from Talk 'N Text landed in the top five with 2006-07 season MVP Kelly Williams the Tropang Texters' best bet for the top honor at seventh place with 26.64 SPs. Jimmy Alapag, Williams' teammate, follows at eight with 25.28 SPs.
Both are expected to contend for the award owing to the Tropang Texters' successful title campaigns in the All-Filipino Conference and the Commissioner's Cup.
The fight for the Best Import award is a toss-up between Rain or Shine's Arizona Reid and Alaska's Jason Forte.
Reid leads Forte in race with 52.08 SPs compared to the 47.69 of the Aces' reinforcement.
With the winner expected to emerge out of the two, this marks the first time in the last 14 years that the Best Import winner will not be coming from the two teams currently playing in the Finals.
Larry Robinson was the last import to do the feat in 1997 for San Miguel, edging out Sean Chambers of Alaska.
Anthony Grundy of Petron (47.69) and Ginebra's Donald Sloan (40.43) are long shots for the award.
Members of the media, players and the PBA committee will vote for the winners.
Also to be named during the Annual Leo Prieto Awards night are the Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player, Mythical Team and Sportsmanship. - JVP, GMA News
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