This conference may be remembered down the line for having June Mar Fajardo bagging a PBA record sixth Best Player of the Conference Award, but we’ll also be left with a lot of tantalizing performances from some of the league’s best players before most of them ended their respective campaigns at the Philippine Cup.
There wasn’t a shortage of box scores filled with massive double-doubles, rare triple-doubles and all-around showings this conference.Let’s take a look at this conference’s best stat lines. We placed no limit on the number of performances because there were just too many special gems to be cut from the list.
June Mar Fajardo (23 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, four blocks, 8-13 FGs in a 104-96 win vs Phoenix)
– San Miguel opened their Philippine Cup campaign last December 17 with a strong 104-96 victory against the Fuel Masters behind Fajardo’s double-double showing. Phoenix had no answer on Fajardo down low as the Beermen dealt their rivals a sound beating. The Fuel Masters were left clueless on whether to stop the immovable center down low or see him finding open shooters whenever they tried to double up on the reigning four-time MVP. He was also a plus-21 in 36 minutes.
Kiefer Ravena (18 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds, two steals, 7-11 FGs, +21 in 119-115 win vs Kia)
– Three days after Fajardo’s solid output, ‘The Phenom’ didn’t waste time stamping his class in the pro league. Quickly, Kiefer Ravena proved to everyone and sundry that he belongs to the league where the big boys play. He finished three rebounds short of a triple-double but the numbers were enough to convince NLEX coach Yeng Guiao thta there’s a new sheriff in town. Ravena was in total control on offense right in his debut game and was instrumental in allowing the Road Warriors to complete their comeback from 13 points down before winning.
Paul Lee (30 points, seven rebounds, six assists, one steal, 11-14 FGs, 6-8 threes in Magnolia’s 108-95 win vs Alaska)
– Paul Lee and Calvin Abueva starred for their respective teams in their opening game last December 20. Lee played 24 minutes off the bench and was very efficient overall, knocking down six treys and missing only three shots from the field. Abueva, on the other hand, was also impressive despite the loss as he put up a huge double-double. Abueva’s 20 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, one block and steady 8-of-14 shooting from the field on top of two three-point shots were just a mere footnote in Magnolia’s 108-95 win.
Baser Amer (17 points, 12 assists, five rebounds, one steal, 7-12 FGs in Meralco’s 103-98 win vs Blackwater)
– This may look like a regular line from Amer, but what stands out in his double-double against Blackwater was that he only had a turnover in 37 minutes in Meralco’s hard-earned win. He kept a hold of his team despite repeated uprisings from the Elite and was able to set up KG Canaleta for a huge trey in the crucial part of the fourth period.
Greg Slaughter (24 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks, two assists, 10-14 FGs in Ginebra’s 89-78 win vs Magnolia)
– Before the injury bug hit him, Greg Slaughter had one of his better games and there’s no better way to show it than in the ‘Manila Clasico.’ The seven-foot slotman’s stats line was pretty solid it allowed the Gin Kings to snatch a win on Christmas Day. He sealed the victory with a completed three-point play with 30 seconds remaining, proof that he’s indeed a force to reckon with when he’s healthy. But Slaughter isn’t the only giant who stood tall as Ian Sangalang produced his own double-double of 25 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and a block. Sangalang’s steady showing capped by his 10-17 FGs was overshadowed by Ginebra’s 89-78 win.
Jeron Teng (28 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, four steals, 10-18 FGs in Alaska’s 98-106 loss to TNT)
– Before the end of the year, another rookie was able to come out with a breakout performance. Jeron Teng made his presence felt even though the Alaska Aces dropped their second straight loss. This newcomer from De La Salle University led the way for his squad’s gallant effort. His two threes in the final minute kept the Aces in the thick of the fight.
Sean Anthony (Three points 13 rebounds, 12 assists, four steals, one block, +18 in GlobalPort’s 78-70 win vs Rain or Shine)
– Sean Anthony proved that helping his team to winning goes beyond scoring. Like Draymond Green of reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors, Anthony posted an unusual double-double of 13 rebounds and 12 assists in GlobalPort’s victory against the Elasto Painters. He only made one of his 11 shots but made up for it with his relentless rebounding and facilitating in offense aside from providing the intangibles at the other end.
Kiefer Ravena (31 points, five assists, four rebounds, four steals, 12-20 FGs in 94-105 loss to Magnolia)
– Sometimes, churning out big numbers isn’t enough to lead his team to victory and that’s been the case for Ravena who played a breakout performance in NLEX’s losing game to the Magnolia Hotshots. Ravena stood out in his match up with Paul Lee, but the veteran guard got more than a little help for his teammates. Lee, for his part, posted solid production of 21 points and four assists for the Hotshots.
James Yap (20 points, six rebounds, 8-10 FGs, 4-5 threes in 120-99 win vs Phoenix)
– In just 20 minutes of playing time, Yap, the two-time MVP, was able to put on an excellent shooting display. He missed only two shots from the field — one from the two-point range and one from the three-point region — as he led seven Rain or Shine players finishing in double figures to give Phoenix a sound beating. It was one of those rare times this conference where Yap would turn back the hands of time as he would spend the latter part of the tournament nursing a calf injury that would sideline him for the playoffs.
Arwind Santos (26 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals, two blocks, 5-12 threes in SMB’s 109-98 win vs NLEX)
– Santos was all over the place in the Beermen’s 109-98 victory against the Road Warriors. He scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to help a struggling SMB offense pull away for good.
Marc Pingris (Four points, 17 rebounds, four assists, two blocks, +16 in Magnolia’s 97-91 win vs Phoenix)
– Lee and Sangalang may have been the biggest story at clutch time, but Pingris was arguably the best player on the court against Phoenix in the Hotshots’ comeback win. He was a plus-16 and was very active, hauling down 17 of the team’s 55 boards while leading the team in assists.
June Mar Fajardo (34 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks, 14-18 FGs in SMB’s 107-93 win vs GlobalPort)
– Another MVP-type performance for The Kraken. The 6-foot-10 Fajardo had his most productive performance this conference as the Beermen outlasted the Batang Pier in a game that saw both teams engaging in 44 lead changes and 11 ties. Fajardo missed only four shots in 18 attempts.
JP Erram (14 points, 21 rebounds, five blocks, two steals, in Blackwater’s 84-88 loss to Alaska)
– Names like Fajardo, Slaughter and Almazan may be the top choice when it comes to big men in the PBA, but one player who’s been holding his own against these big guys is JP Erram. In a losing effort against Alaska, the league’s top rebounder was a tireless worker off the boards. Erram had 10 offensive boards to give Blackwater 24 second chance points and tied Fajardo for the most rebounds in a game this conference.
Kelly Nabong (17 points, 17 rebounds, three blocks, 2-3 threes, +13 against in GlobalPort’s 107-88 win vs Meralco)
– Talking about payback, Kely Nabong found a perfect day to do that and he made sure that he’ll be on top of his game against his old team, Meralco. Nabong practically dominated every Bolts counterpart in rebounding as the Batang Pier outrebounded the Bolts, 67-46.
Marc Pingris (Four points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, one steal, one block in Magnolia’s 78-72 win vs Blackwater)
– With Mark Barocca and Aldrech Ramos stealing the spotlight in this game, Pingris probably didn’t pique anyone’s attention with his numbers. However, he was a plus-7 and led the team in assists as his effective facilitating from the post kept Magnolia’s slow offense (37 percent) running when it mattered. He also helped hold Erram to only six points on 3-11 shooting and 13 rebounds.
JP Erram (24 points, 18 rebounds, four blocks, two steals in Blackwater’s 106-96 win vs SMB (106-96)
– Up against the reigning four-time MVP, Erram played his best game of the conference in leading the Blackwater Elite to a huge win over the reigning three-time Philippine Cup champions Beermen. Erram got the better of his match up with Fajardo, who was held to just 12 points and 13 boards on 3-11 shooting from the field.
JVee Casio (22 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, 8-13 FGs in Alaska’s 99-95 win vs Rain or Shine)
– Playing without Calvin Abueva and Carl Bryan Cruz (Gilas duties), as well as Chris Banchero (injury), Casio became more active on the offensive end as the former La Salle stalwart posted his first career triple-double while leading Alaska to a tense win over Rain or Shine.
Japeth Aguilar (30 points, 17 rebounds, five assists in Ginebra’s 100-92 triple OT win vs Rain or Shine)
– Aguilar came up big and was one of the bright spots for Ginebra in the team’s triple-overtime victory against the Elasto Painters last March 2. He was a plus-five in 51 minutes and only LA Tenorio (56 mins) logged more playing time than him. The win also helped Ginebra secure a best-of-three matchup against the same team.
Scottie Thompson (14 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists +14 in Ginebra’s 88-80 win vs Rain or Shine)
– Thompson was three assists shy of posting a triple-double and helped Barangay Ginebra in taking the head start of their best-of-three quarterfinals series with Rain or Shine.He was a plus-14 in led the team in rebounds and assists once more.
June Mar Fajardo (33 points, 19 rebounds, two blocks, one steal in SMB’s 104-102 win vs Ginebra (104-102)
– Bucking foul troubles, the reigning four-time MVP was still able to come up with a productive output as the Beermen outlasted the Gin Kings in overtime.
Scottie Thompson (10 points, 16 rebounds, 16 assists, two steals, one block in Ginebra’s 96-102 loss to SMB)
– Barangay Ginebra was eliminated by San Miguel in five games in the semis, but Thompson would still come out with a triple-double performance. The 24-year-old guard masterfully orchestrated the offense and was a monster off the boards.
Jio Jalalon (11 points, 13 assists, five rebounds in Magnolia’s 96-89 win over NLEX)
– Jalalon showed a lot of composure in Game Six against NLEX as he recorded 13 assists against only one turnover in 29 minutes off the bench. The guard out of Arellano also made four out of his nine shots to help Magnolia set up a finals match up with San Miguel Beer.