Winning the PBA Most Valuable Player award is no easy task. It entails consistent performance every game the entire season.
But it is more than just individual statistics. It also means the player’s team has to advance in every conference to earn the player more games and more won-game bonus points. Junemar Fajardo has won the MVP five times, while Ramon Fernandez and Alvin Patrimonio have four each. The likes of Bogs Adornado, Benjie Paras, Danny Ildefonso, Abet Guidaben, James Yap, and Wille Miller are the other multiple MVP awardees.
There have been a number of outstanding players who have not had the good fortune of winning the league’s highest individual award. Here are some of them:
Arnaiz could have been the first MVP of the PBA in 1975. He was at the forefront of the attack of the Toyota Comets when they won the first two conferences and looked poised to win the Grand Slam in the PBA’s maiden season, only to lose the last conference crown to Crispa. At a time when the MVP was named after the 1st conference and not at the end of the season, Adornado eventually won the award over Arnaiz. Arnaiz was named to the Mythical First Team. As a consolation, Arnaiz was named by the press as the season’s Basketball Player of the Year. The former Ateneo Blue Eagle would again make the Mythical First Team in 1976 and 1982.
Before Samboy Lim took his high-flying act to the PBA, Florencio was already skywalking his way to the rim in the pro league. Florencio once held the league scoring record of 64 points which he set on November, 1977 in a loss by his team Seven Up to Toyota. That same year, he normed 32.3 points which to this day is the highest scoring average in a season by a local.The next season, Florencio proved he could still score in bunches even when playing for a powerhouse team when he moved to Toyota and once again led the league in scoring with 23.4 points per game. He achieved these scoring feats at a time when the three point line was not yet instituted in the PBA.
In 1993, the MVP race boiled down to teammates Patrimonio and Codiñera. The Captain would eventually get the nod in one of the closest votings for the award. There is a reason Codiñera is nicknamed the Defense Minister. He was named Defensive Player of the Year in 1994. He has made the All-Defensive team nine times. His distinguished career boasts of three Mythical First Team selections and five Mythical Second Team selections. He is also one of the fiercest rebounders in league history, ranking 1st in all-time offensive rebounds.
The Bull is arguably the biggest omission in the PBA’s Top 40 Greatest Players of All Time. Asaytono missed out on the MVP award in 1993 when he was 2nd over-all in statistical points and in 1997 when he led the PBA in scoring. Asaytono already had a steller start to his career when he joined Purefoods in 1989 despite playing second fiddle to Patrimonio. He was even named an alternate by Coach Sonny Jaworski to the 1990 RP National Team. But it was when Asaytono moved to Swift/Sunkist when his stock began to soar. In 1996, Asaytono would move once again to San Miguel where he would blossom further into a legitimate superstar.
The younger generation consider Seigle the best player never to have won an MVP. There is merit to this assertion. There has never been a player in the league who has had the height, the skills, and the scoring ability of Seigle. He made the Mythical First Team in his first three seasons in the PBA. He shares the record with Yap for the most number of finals MVPs with four. He holds the record for most consecutive games (19) with at least 20 points. There is a long-harbored belief that had Seigle not suffered a major injury in 2002, not only would the Philippines have bagged the Gold in the Asian Games, but Seigle would have also eventually won an MVP Award.
(Images from Facebook/Philippine Basketball Association retro 80s & 90s)