PBA Metrics: The league’s top “pure” point guards

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Raw numbers aren’t always accurate representations of a player’s performance on the court. Gaudy-looking statistics would usually mean that a player has had a lot of touches and chances, but there are a lot of times when he actually puts up a stinker – even if that guy scores 35 or puts up a double-double.

This is where advanced metrics come in. Looking at the right numbers would show you how a player positively or negatively affects his team whenever he’s out there playing. For example, one may see that Player X’s contributions on the floor in merely 15 minutes are terrific, while increased playing time for Player Y would mean a dip in the team’s performance.

This is the first edition of PBA Metrics, and we’re focusing on the league’s top pure point guards based on the Pure Point Rating (PPR). Summed up in a single number, this rating was developed by former ESPN writer John Hollinger to draw an accurate picture of how efficiently a player handles the ball while creating opportunities for his teammates on offense.

* Minimum: Played in at least 75% of the team’s games, 15 minutes a game
* Stats are accurate as of 09 February 2018

  1. LA Revilla, Phoenix Fuel Masters

2017-2018 PBA Philippine Cup per-game averages: 3.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.8 turnovers

Pure Point Rating (PPR): 4.5

Revilla’s shooting numbers are abysmal this conference (30.6 percent from the field) but he’s still one of their go-to guys when handling the rock down on offense. The La Salle alumnus is averaging the same number of assists as teammate Jeff Chan but he’s dishing them out in less minutes (21.9 per game).

 

  1. Alex Cabagnot, San Miguel Beermen

2017-2018 PBA Philippine Cup per-game averages: 19 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.5 turnovers

PPR: 4.5

‘The Crunchman’ is still San Miguel’s best floor general even with Chris Ross averaging more assists (6.0) this conference. He has the ball on a string, turning the rock over at such a low rate while logging heavy minutes (36.6) for the league’s second best-offensive team.

 

  1. Cyrus Baguio, NLEX Road Warriors

2017-2018 PBA Philippine Cup per-game averages: 6.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.9 turnovers

PPR: 4.7

The 37-year old veteran’s an old reliable even though he’s only playing a shade over 17 minutes per game. His playmaking is opening up his shot this conference, too, as he’s shooting over 55 percent from the field. The Road Warriors might opt to give ‘Skyrus’ more minutes if he continues playing effectively.

 

  1. Justin Melton, Magnolia Hotshots

2017-2018 PBA Philippine Cup per-game averages: 8.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.2 turnovers

PPR: 4.8

23 minutes per game is all that Melton needs to do his damage. On top of his all-around numbers are his playmaking stats, where he’s doing so effectively without hurting Magnolia’s top-five offense.

 

  1. JVee Casio, Alaska Aces

2017-2018 PBA Philippine Cup per-game averages: 9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.0 turnover

PPR: 4.9

Chris Banchero is Alaska’s top assist guy with 4.1 per game, but Casio’s not far behind with lesser turnovers. He’s not shooting well this conference (34.4 percent from the field) but when he’s got four other teammates scoring in double figures per game, getting them buckets is a bigger priority.

 

  1. Simon Enciso, Alaska Aces

2017-2018 PBA Philippine Cup per-game averages: 6.0 points, 2.7 assists, 1.9 rebounds, 0.7 turnovers

PPR: 6.0

There are four mouths to feed on offense with Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, Jeron Teng and Chris Banchero, and Enciso is doing a particularly good job at getting it to them, averaging less than a turnover per game while facilitating for other scorers. He’s probably not gonna get any more minutes (18.5) than he already has now with Casio and Banchero ahead of him on the team’s depth chart.

 

  1. Kiefer Ravena, NLEX Road Warriors

2017-2018 PBA Philippine Cup per-game averages: 16.1 points, 6.1 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 2.0 turnovers

PPR: 6.6

NLEX’s super rookie is playing big minutes (30.2) and dishing out the third-most assists per game this conference (6.1) while top-scoring (16.1) for the league’s top-rated offense. The shooting will come and go (43.6 percent from the field, 28 percent on threes), but the Road Warriors are in a good place in the foreseeable future with Ravena’s having the keys to the franchise.

 

  1. Nard Pinto, Blackwater Elite

2017-2018 PBA Philippine Cup per-game averages: 3.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.6 turnovers

PPR: 7.0

Pinto is probably one of the last players a casual fan might see in this list. The point guard out of Arellano, who’s playing under 17 minutes a game, leads the team in assists while being so careful with the ball. Blackwater, who has the league’s worst offense at 85.6 points per game, should opt to increase his workload because they desperately need to inject energy into their offense.

 

  1. Chris Tiu, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters

2017-2018 PBA Philippine Cup per-game averages: 13.7 points, 4.2 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 1.0 turnover

PPR: 7.3

Who knew that a featured role on offense would do wonders for Chris Tiu? (I did.) The guard out of Ateneo is almost immaculate with the ball while leading the team in scoring this conference. He is also one of the league’s top bombers from the arc, so opposing defenders have to pick their poison: leave a 48.3 percent three-point shooter open or gamble on him finding an open man. So far, things working well for Tiu.

 

  1. Baser Amer, Meralco Bolts

2017-2018 PBA Philippine Cup per-game averages: 11.6 points, 7.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 2.0 turnovers

PPR: 8.4

Baser Amer is the league’s ‘point god’ right now. He tops the league in the assists department, and does so without dominating the ball (18.2% usage rate, sixth in team). The San Beda stalwart also boasts one of the league’s top offensive ratings (113) whenever he’s on the floor. The Bolts, however, might want to shore up their depth and plug holes in their bottom-three defense to make a deep run in the postseason.

Takeaways from Phoenix-TNT, Ginebra-Kia

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Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Phoenix Fuel Masters both picked up wins in Wednesday’s (February 7) slate at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Doug Kramer finished a perfect pick-and-roll off a Matthew Wright dime with a floater to steal a 74-72 victory over TNT in the last seconds and move up to a 4-4 card in the standings.

Meanwhile, Ginebra dominated on both ends of the floor and led by as much as 29 en route a 103-77 blowout win against Kia.

Here are the numbers from yesterday’s games.

Phoenix Fuel Masters 74, TNT KaTropa 72

1. Grind-out games like these would usually favor the KaTropa, but Phoenix, a bottom-three defensive team, surprisingly did a terrific job of stymying TNT’s top brass in this low-scoring affair to come out on top. Jayson Castro (3-11 on field goals, five turnovers) and Kelly Williams (3-10 FG) struggled mightily, combining for only 17 points.

2. The Fuel Masters negated TNT’s usual advantage on the boards, losing only by one on that battle (50 rebounds against KaTropa’s 51). Jason Perkins led the team with 10, while Kramer grabbed seven more.

3. Both teams shot terribly (10-49) from the distance. The biggest triple of the game, however, came from Matthew Wright (16 points, five rebounds, three steals, two assists). He tied the game at 72 for Phoenix, who just came back then from a 13-point deficit in the third quarter.

 

Barangay Ginebra 103, KIA 77

1. Five players scored in double figures for Ginebra, with Greg Slaughter’s 14 points pacing the team. But Scottie Thompson shone the brightest in the win as he flirted with a triple-double (12 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists, one steal) and had the team’s best on-off the floor numbers (+30) for the night.

2. BGSM dominated down low all game. They had a massive advantage on rebounds (57-42) and points in the paint (56-24) as they picked apart Kia’s thin frontline.

3. Picanto had no player who made a positive impact on the floor. Rashawn McCarthy, who posted 15 points and six boards, was a -30, while Ronald Tubid (13 points) was a -20.

Images courtesy of www.pba.ph

KaTropa, Fuel Masters look to gain playoff momentum; Ginebra, Kia clash

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It’s game day today at the Mall of Asia Arena as four teams will look to gain some ground heading into the playoffs.

In the first game at 4:30 PM, TNT KaTropa is looking to solidify its hold on the fourth seed, while the Phoenix Fuel Masters are out to bounce back after a tough loss against Alaska last January 31.

Two bottom-four teams are set to tip-off at 7 PM, with Ginebra aiming to enter the playoff picture and Kia just wanting to get out of the cellar.

TNT KaTropa vs. Phoenix Fuel Masters

Both teams are on opposite sides of the spectrum when looking at their offensive and defensive ratings; TNT is PBA’s second-best defensive team (86.9), while Phoenix has a top-three offense (96.4).

This might be the game where the KaTropa’s shots start finally falling. After all, Phoenix allows teams to shoot 45.1 percent from the floor, which is the second-worst rating in the league. Expect Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario to have slightly better numbers, and for Roger Pogoy (16.7 percent on threes) and RR Garcia (20 percent on threes) to heat up a bit.

But the big men will be the key for TNT in dominating Phoenix, who’s a bit undersized up front. Rosario, Kelly Williams, and Mo Tautuaa may get more touches down low. Coach Nash Racela might even give Norbert Torres some run just to capitalize on their size advantage.

For Phoenix, they can always play the passing lanes and outrun TNT to get easy buckets. The Fuel Masters pace the league in the steals department (12.7 per game) so guys like Matthew Wright and (2.1 steals) and LA Revilla (1.7) might get those transition points.

Burying TNT on threes is also an option, but that’s easier said than done. Jeff Chan, JC Intal, and Gelo Alolino all shoot above 42 percent from beyond the arc this season, but they have to start throwing up more of those (20.9, now last in the league). Plus, getting a shot over KaTropa’s perimeter defense (29.9 percent allowed on three pointers) is a daunting task.

Barangay Ginebra Kings vs. KIA Picanto

Barangay Ginebra has been struggling this conference, but they can’t do worse than Kia, who has the league’s worst point differential (-20.1) by a mile.

Expect the Kings’ offense to break out of a cold slump tonight. Kia allows a league-worst 108.4 points per game, including 37.2 percent from rainbow country – Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, both averaging over 17 points a game, will have a field day in the paint, while LA Tenorio (37 percent on threes) and Kevin Ferrer (29 percent) may just splash threes on the Picanto.

RaShawn McCarthy can only do so much for Kia. He’s heating up quite nicely for the team, but outside him and Jackson Corpuz, there are not enough guys to contribute decently for a possible upset.

Three notable stats from your favorite PBA team in the 2017-18 Philippine Cup

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The traditional “eye-test” and rank in the standings won’t cut it if you’re looking at how your team is faring in the 2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup.

Luckily, we got you covered. In this list, we’re looking at three team statistics that stand out for every team this conference. Check out how your team is doing below.

* stats are accurate as of 06 February 2018

ALASKA ACES (6-2)

HOT STREAK – The Aces are in the middle of a six-game winning streak right now after losing their first two games against Magnolia and TNT. As a result, they have the league’s second-best point differential at +8.0, only behind the Hotshot’s +9.8.

NO(T A LOT OF) THREES, NO PROBLEM – Alaska is dead last in three-point attempts at 20.6 per game, but their 97.6 points per game ranks third in the PBA and they’re scoring at 44.2%, good for second. This can be attributed to their top scorers’ (Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, Jeron Teng, Chris Banchero) preference in muscling and cutting their way for high percentage shots in the paint.

FREEBIES Shying away from the outside shot has also paved the way for more trips to the line for Alaska as they’re attempting 23.1 per game, second-most in the league.

BARANGAY GINEBRA KINGS (3-4)

SHARING IS CARING – Moving and dishing the ball has been Ginebra’s strength this conference, averaging a league-best 24.3 assists per game. It definitely helps having two top-10 assist leaders in Scottie Thompson (6.3 assists per game) and LA Tenorio (5.3) to handle the rock alternately.

COUGHING IT UP – The problem, however, is that the Kings are prone to “sharing” it with their opponents too. They’re turning the ball over at a league-worst 20.3 per game.

STILL COLD ON OFFENSE – A lot of assists don’t always translate into points on the board. Ginebra’s offense is still struggling, scoring only 87.6 points per game while giving up 90 on the other side of the floor. Depth has also been an issue this conference, with their bench producing only 22.7 points per game (second-worst in the league).

BLACKWATER ELITE (2-5)

STRUGGLES IN THE HALF-COURT – Blackwater arguably has the worst offense in the PBA this conference, scoring the least points per game (85.6) with the worst field goal percentage (38.2 percent) and second-least assists (17.7).

GUNS ARE COLD – Two of the team’s top scorers in Mac Belo (39 percent from the floor) and Allein Maliksi (36.2 percent) aren’t too particularly effective so far. Their next best option is JP Erram, whose shooting (43 percent) is relatively pedestrian for a big man.

DEFENSE – At least the Elite are doing well on the other side of the floor. They’re holding opponents to only 89.4 points per game (fourth in the league) on 39.2 percent shooting (second in the league). Blackwater also has the PBA’s top swatter in JP Erram, who’s averaging 3.4 blocks a game.

GLOBALPORT BATANG PIER (3-4)

CRASHING THE BOARDS – Batang Pier is number one in the rebounding department, grabbing 57 a game. They have four guys (Kelly Nabong, Sean Anthony, Stanley Pringle, Bradwyn Guinto) in this category’s top 20, with Nabong’s 11.4 caroms a game placing third in the league.

DECENT OFFENSE – The team is doing relatively well on three-point shooting (34.1 percent, third in the PBA) and points (96 per game, fourth) due to efficient seasons from both Pringle and Anthony.

DEFENSE – Even though GlobalPort is averaging 5.2 blocks per game (third-best), their defensive numbers are average at best; they’re letting opponents score 95 points per game and are allowing them to shoot 41 percent from the field. It’s time to tighten things on this side of the floor if this team is aiming to make a clear run to the playoffs.

KIA PICANTO (1-6)

BAD OFFENSE – Kia is doing terribly. The team is only mustering 88.3 (third last) points per game while averaging a measly 16.4 assists (last in the league). They are also coughing up the rock 19.3 times a game, with only Ginebra in front of them.

HORRIBLE DEFENSE – Picanto is basically a revolving door on defense. They are getting annihilated by opposing teams, who are scoring 108.4 per game on 47.5 percent from the floor, including 37.2 percent from downtown – numbers which put them in the bottom of the league.

GLIMMER OF HOPE – Rashawn McCarthy and Jackson Corpuz are two of the very few positives that Kia has to field this season. McCarthy, originally drafted by San Miguel, is posting all-around numbers with 16.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game on 44.4 percent from the field and 44.7 percent from downtown. Corpuz has the team’s highest Player Efficiency Rating (PER) at 22 with averages of 12.8 points and 8.5 rebounds on 52.4 percent shooting.

MAGNOLIA HOTSHOTS (6-2)

NO EASY SHOTS – The Hotshots’ defense has been outstanding this conference. They are holding opponents to merely 84.8 points per game (first) on 39.5 percent shooting (third). Closeouts on shooters are also highly effective – teams are only shooting 22.5 percent on threes (first) against Magnolia. Talk about putting the shackles.

BENCH MOB – Magnolia’s 58.1 bench points per game easily rank first in the PBA. The team’s depth has been so effective, with all but two players (Kyle Pascual and Rodney Brondial) chipping in at least five points a game.

GAUDY NUMBERS ON O – The team is shooting 43 percent from the field, including 33.5 percent on threes (both fourth in the PBA), and are taking 25.9 foul shots a game (first) while hitting 77.3 percent of those (second). The offense is humming, and coach Chito Victolero must be pleased.

MERALCO BOLTS (2-5)

ROCKETS-LITE? – The Bolts are doing their best Houston Rockets impersonation – they’re firing away a league-high 36 threes a game while hitting 37.7 percent on those. Meralco is also first in free throw percentage at 81.4 percent.

NOT ENOUGH ON D – Meralco needs more energy on defense. Teams are scoring 42 percent on them, which is third-worst in the league. They are allowing 96.6 points per game (fourth-worst), are third-last in blocks (3.6 per game), and are last in steals (5 per game).

SHALLOW FRONTCOURT – Cliff Hodge, a 6’5 forward, is this team’s leading rebounder with 7 a game. Meralco does not have enough serviceable big men to bang bodies and box down low; veterans Nino Canaleta and Reynel Hugnatan might be saving their effort for offense, while big guys like Bryan Faundo and Ken Bono can’t totally be trusted with big minutes. Their 45.3 rebounds per game, second last in the league, is a glaring hole that needs to be solved moving forward.

NLEX ROAD WARRIORS (3-4)

TALE OF TWO CITIES – NLEX fields the most points per game this conference at 98.3, but they’re giving up the second-most points at 101.4. The team clearly isn’t lacking in scorers, with Kiefer Ravena, JR Quinahan, Larry Fonacier and Alex Mallari averaging double figures; they just have to plug the holes in their bottom-3 defense if they want to stick in the playoff race.

BALL MOVEMENT – Yeng Guiao’s squad likes passing the rock. The Road Warriors are averaging the second-most assists per game (23.1). Ravena leads the squad with 6.1 dimes, while five others are averaging just a shade over 2 a game.

FRONTCOURT – There is little resistance from NLEX’s big men this conference. The team grabs boards at a bottom-3 rate (47.6 per game) and are averaging only 3.1 blocks per game, second-last in the PBA. No player is averaging more than a block per game.

PHOENIX FUEL MASTERS (3-4)

SIZE – Doug Kramer (7.4 rebounds per game) and Jason Perkins (6.6 rebounds) are the only serviceable bigs that Phoenix has right now, and their presence in the paint might not be enough. The team is averaging only 1.3 blocks per game (last in the league) and isn’t particularly good at rebounding (47.9, ninth)

DEFENSE – Phoenix does a decent job of preventing shooters from burying them – opposing teams shoot only 31.4 percent on threes against them – but are having a hard time stopping penetration and points in the paint. Compounded with the lack of size, teams are shooting 45.1 percent from the floor against them (second-worst).

SWARMING AND ATTACKING – What they lack in size, they make up for their speed on defense and impressive shooting. The Fuel Masters make a living on cutting off passing lanes, leading to a league-best 12.7 steals per game. They also boast the second-best shooting from beyond the arc with 34.2 percent, but they might want to take a lot more of those; they’re only throwing up 20.9 threes a game, just next to Alaska as the second-least.

RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERS (4-3)

TOP-3 DEFENSE – Rain or Shine is the only team in the league that ranks in the top 3 in both steals (10.1, third) and blocks (5.6, second). They also have the third-best defensive rating at 88.0.

NEED TO BOX OUT MORE? – Opponents are still outrebounding the Elasto Painters (50.9 per game) despite the team placing fourth in that department itself (49.7).

ACTIVITY – It’s only a matter of time until Rain or Shine turns from having a middle-of-the-pack offense into being a top-five team – they’re taking enough shots from downtown (32.3, third) and from the line (23.0 free throws a game, third) to hike their percentages.

SAN MIGUEL BEERMEN (6-1)

OFFENSE ANCHORED BY THE KRAKEN – Despite shooting only 29.3 percent from the three-point area (third-worst), San Miguel has the second-best offense at 97.7 points per game. Junemar Fajardo makes up for the team’s cold shooting with this paint dominance, where his shooting hovers around 70 percent for this conference.

JUNEMAR (AGAIN) ON DEFENSE – Fajardo again is the big difference between San Miguel and the other teams in other categories. The Beermen are grabbing a league-leading 39 defensive boards per game, thanks to the Cebuano’s 13.1 boards per game, and are blocking 6 shots a game, with the Kraken (and Arwind Santos) accounting for almost 4 a game.

TROUBLE FROM THE LINE AND BENCH – San Miguel is only shooting 63 percent on free throws, which is the worst in the league. They’re going to have to make a lot of those more often or these will come and haunt them in the closest of games. Their razor-thin bench also produces only 17.7 points this conference, and this might put a lot more burden on the starters come playoff time.

TNT KATROPA (4-3)

CHILLY ON OFFENSE – TNT is struggling badly with their shots this conference. The usual offensive juggernauts are managing only 89.3 points per game while hitting only 38.6 percent from the field (second-worst) and 27.6 percent from the arc (last). They’re throwing up a lot of threes (31.6, fourth-most attempts), though, so we can expect them to start hitting some of those.

DRAGGING IT OUT – If they can’t score themselves, Katropa will drag their opponents with them to the mud. Their 86.9 defensive rating ranks second in the league and they’re putting the clamps on shooters, allowing only 29.9 percent on threes against other teams.

REBOUNDING – This team might start cashing in on some second-chance or transition points off of the rebounds they’re getting; TNT’s 55.4 boards per game puts them second in the league in that category.

Every PBA team’s most efficient player in the 2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup

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We’re past the halfway mark of the 2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup and the race to make the playoffs is almost at its peak, with two teams (Magnolia Hotshots and San Miguel Beermen) sitting comfortably atop the standings while six others are locked in a tightly-contested battle for grabbing the last four quarterfinal slots.

Not lost in this playoff battle are the numbers put up by every ball club’s best players, who, efficient or not, are ultimately responsible for priming their team to postseason success or for just dragging them out of the cellar.

In this list, we’re taking a look at every team’s top guys based on the Player Efficiency Rating (PER). An advanced metric developed by former ESPN writer John Hollinger, PER is a one-number measure of a player’s per-minute performance on the court.

Like every other advanced statistic that calculates performance, PER is not a perfect indication of how every player ranks over his teammates or other players, but is rather a picture of how efficient he plays in his time on the court.

 

*Minimum: 15 minutes per game

*Stats are accurate as of 05 February 2018

 

ALASKA ACES

Vic Manuel

2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup per-game stats: 13.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.6 blocks, 51.9 percent on FGs, 68 percent on FTs; 24.2 PER

Vic Manuel edged out Calvin Abueva as the Aces’ most efficient player by the tiniest of margins (.2). He’s fourth right now on minutes played behind Chris Banchero, Abueva and Jeron Teng, but he makes the most of his minutes – his solid shooting and paint presence makes him a steadying fixture in Alaska’s frontcourt.

BARANGAY GINEBRA KINGS

Greg Slaughter

2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup per-game stats: 17.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.5 blocks, 55.3 percent on FGs, 67.9 percent on FTs; 25.3 PER

Slaughter has only played in four games this conference, but he’s far and away the best player when he has suited up. He has team’s best offensive (114.5) and defensive (95.9) ratings, but he might have to carry a heavier load for the struggling Kings, who hold a 3-4 card right now in the standings.

BLACKWATER ELITE

Mac Belo

2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup per-game stats: 18.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.7 blocks, 39 percent on FGs, 33 percent on 3s, 69 percent on FTs; 22.3 PER

Mac Belo looks like he’s approaching top shape, proving to be their best option on the wing on both ends of the floor. The shooting numbers aren’t pretty but Blackwater will take what they can get since their second volume-scoring guy (Allein Maliksi, 36 percent on FGs) can’t fare any better right now.

GLOBALPORT BATANG PIER

Stanley Pringle

2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup per-game stats: 23.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.2 steals, 47.5 percent on FGs, 42 percent on 3s, 64 percent on FTs; 22.3 PER

With Terrence Romeo (knee) out, Pringle has taken control of GlobalPort’s offense unimpeded. He’s an efficient volume scorer (19.7 field goal attempts per game), and what’s even more surprising are his rebound numbers – Pringle is grabbing a career-high 8.2 boards this conference.

KIA

Jackson Corpuz

2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup per-game stats: 12.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.8 steals, 2.0 blocks, 52.4 percent on FGs, 58.3 percent on FTs: 22.0 PER

After getting called up last year from the D-League, Corpuz has made a name for being among the league’s scrappiest guys. His calling card is on defense, with big numbers on that side of the floor, while being a sturdy option on offense (10.5 attempts per game).

MAGNOLIA HOTSHOTS

Paul Lee

2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup per-game stats: 17.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks, 50 percent on FGs, 47.4 percent on 3s, 76.5 percent on FTs; 27.6 PER

Lee is practically lighting it up this season under Chito Victolero’s Hotshots. He’s posting career-highs on offense (both on percentages and attempts) and steals while leading Magnolia to a conference-best 6-1.

 

MERALCO BOLTS

Nino Canaleta

2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup per-game stats: 16.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.6 blocks, 44 percent on FGs, 38.9 percent on 3s; 17.8 PER

Canaleta is turning 36 this February, but he’s showing no signs of slowing down. He’s having a renaissance of some sorts, emerging as the Bolts’ primary option on offense. Nino needs more help, though, as Meralco is on the outside looking in with a 2-5 record.

NLEX ROAD WARRIORS

Cyrus Baguio

2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup per-game stats: 6.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.3 steals, 55 percent on FGs, 25 percent on 3s, 71.4 percent on FTs; 21.2 PER

Surprised? If Baguio did not meet the 15 minute per-game minimum, Kiefer Ravena (16 points, 6 assists per game; 43 percent on FGs; 20.4 PER) would have been the pick here. He’s only playing 17.3 minutes per game, but ‘Skyrus’ still gets buckets off the bench whenever NLEX needs a spark.

PHOENIX FUEL MASTERS

Gelo Alolino

2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup per-game stats: 9.0 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 steals, 52 percent on FGs, 42.9 percent on 3s, 83.3 percent on FTs; 21.9 PER

Alolino is only logging 16.8 minutes per game, but he should see an increase in his playing time given that he’s a massive plus whenever he’s on the court. The former National University stalwart has a 122.6 offensive rating whenever he’s on the court, is a low-usage guy, and is a hound on defense.

RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERS

Chris Tiu

2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup per-game stats: 13.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.3 blocks, 41.4 percent on FGs, 48.3 percent on 3s, 71.4 percent on FTs; 23.5 PER

Tiu edged out Ed Daquioag by .1 in PER, but he did so by making the most of his time in a featured role. The 32-year old guard is posting career highs in points and is shooting from downtown at a scorching clip. Tiu’s playmaking is also a calming force for a team that’s in the middle of the playoff pack this conference.

SAN MIGUEL BEERMEN

Junemar Fajardo

2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup per-game stats: 26.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 2.5 blocks, 70.3 percent on FGs, 58.9 percent on FTs; 29.5 PER

This one’s on you if you didn’t see Fajardo’s name coming. After winning his fourth MVP plum last year, the Cebuano center is still proving to be an unstoppable force in the paint. He leads the league in points while logging top-five numbers in rebounds, blocks and minutes played. He’s unfair.

TNT KATROPA

Jayson Castro

2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup per-game stats: 15.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.9 blocks, 38.8 percent on FGs, 40.0 percent on 3s, 77.4 percent on FTs; 21.1 PER

‘The Blur’ has slowed down a bit compared to his pace last year, but he’s not carrying as much as before with the continued improvement of Troy Rosario and RR Pogoy. Castro (85.7 defensive rating, #1 in team) is still the heart and soul of the Katropa, so expect him to find his groove again as the year progresses.