Abueva continues to lead conference best player race


CALVIN ABUEVA solidified his bid for the Davco-Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Best Player of the Conference award after retaining the top spot in the race for the Philippine Cup top individual honor at the end of the semifinals.

The Magnolia forward posted an average of 34.2 statistical points (SPs) after the Hotshots booked a berth in the best-of-seven Finals by eliminating No. 2 seed Meralco Bolts in six games.

In 19 games he played in his first season with the Purefoods franchise, the “Beast” averaged a double-double of 15.2 points and 10.0 rebounds, while adding 2.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.1 blocked shots.

Magnolia teammate Ian Sangalang loomed as the biggest threat to Abueva’s bid in winning his second award since the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup as the 6-foot-7 center ranked third with 33.0 SPs.

The 29-year-old Sangalang lagged behind prolific NorthPort guard Robert Bolick, who sits in second spot with 33.7 SPs, but whose personal bid suffered a heavy blow following the early ouster of the Batang Pier in the quarterfinals where they lost to the San Miguel Beermen.

Sangalang has been a steady presence for the Hotshots in the middle, averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in helping his team reach the all-Filipino Finals for the third time in the last four years.

Rookie Mikey Williams fell from second place to No. 4 after struggling early in TNT Tropang Giga’s semifinals series against San Miguel.

The 28-year-old Filipino-American guard totaled 32.0 SPs behind averages of 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 18 games, though he played his best game of the series when it mattered most, tallying 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists as TNT slammed the door on the Beermen, 97-79, on Sunday in the do-or-die Game 7.

Six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo closed out the top 5 candidates for the individual honor with 31.8 SPs on double-double norms of 13.5 points and 10.8 rebounds.

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