BK's Santos making another run for PBA’s MVP plum

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BK's Santos making another run for PBA’s MVP plum

MANILA, Philippines – Beaten out in the most valuable player (MVP) plum last year, Arwind Santos is making a case again for the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) highest individual honor.

The former Far Eastern University (FEU) King Tamaraw currently shows the way in the statistical points’ race for the best player award in the Motolite PBA Fiesta Conference.

The Burger King forward sets the pace in the initial stage of the season-ending tourney as he averaged 36.4 statistical points and amassed a total of 255 in seven games.

Runner-up to Kelly Williams in last season’s MVP derby, Santos, a key player in the Powerade-Team Pilipinas, led all local players in scoring, placed second in blocks and was sixth in rebounds in the first four weeks of action in the tourney.

Being one of only two players breaching the 20-point mark in scoring and one of only three players in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding, the 6-foot-4 former FEU forward enjoys a comfortable lead over the rest of the pack.

Talk ‘N Text guard Jimmy Alapag, the leader in assists with 7.0 a game, is Santos’ closest pursuer with 33.2 SPs per outing.

Williams comes next with an average of 32.3 SPs followed by San Miguel playmaker Jonas Villanueva (32.2), Coca-Cola center Asi Taulava (31.7), Rain or Shine prized rookie Gabe Norwood (31.4), San Miguel wingman Dondon Hontiveros (29.5), SMB forward Jay Washington (29), Sta. Lucia slotman Marlou Aquino (28.9) and BK off-guard Gary David (28.7).

The top five in the stats race after the semis contend for the coveted award to be handed out in Game One of the finals.

“This is the best I’ve seen him play in the PBA, his upside is enormous, even scary since it is only now that he is slowly maturing," said Burger King and national coach Yeng Guiao of Santos.

“The only thing he really needs to improve on is his decision-making, but he has all the talent and skills to assert himself as one of the dominant PBA players in the years to come," Guiao added.

Santos was the best among the locals in the early goings of the tourney, averaging 20.7 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.4 blocks and 0.4 steals per game.

David is the only other local player averaging in the 20s while Taulava and Raymundo are the two other players in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding.

“In my system you must sacrifice your scoring role, but not the other aspects. (Santos) does it all, and for him to come up with those points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks while also defending tells a lot," pointed out Guiao.

“The numbers he comes up with are usually for players who see action for 40 minutes, so we can rightfully say his efficiency level is high."

Meanwhile, power-playing Rain or Shine reinforcement Jai Lewis is the pacesetter in the stats race in the best import category with 55.0 SPs a game.

Breathing down his neck is Sta. Lucia’s Anthony Johnson (53.9), followed by Talk ‘N Text’s Tiras Wade (53.2), Ginebra’s Rod Nealy (47.4), Alaska’s Rosell Ellis (45.3), SMB’s Gabe Freeman (43.0), Barako Bull’s Scooter McFadgon (42.6), Coke’s James Penny (40), Purefoods’ Jahmar Thorpe (34) and BK’s Shawn Daniels (33.6). – GMANews.TV

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