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PBA: Arwind leads Best Player race

By WAYLON GALVEZ

Manila, Philippines – Arwind Santos, Petron Blaze’s do-it-all forward, emerged as the leading contender for the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) award after the quarterfinal playoffs of the PBA 36th Season Philippine Cup.

Santos, a double-double performer during the elimination round, leads all players in Statistical Points (SP) department with an average of 38.63.

The 6-foot-4 former FEU standout enjoys a six-point advantage on former MVP Kelly Williams of defending champion Talk ’N Text, giving him an opportunity to become the first player in seven years to capture a second straight BPC plum.

Barangay Ginebra’s Eric Menk was the last player to achieve that during the 2004-05 Fiesta Conference (transition meet) and the succeeding Philippine Cup.

Santos was named the Governors’ Cup BPC last season.

The versatile forward is averaging 18.3 points and 12.3 rebounds, one of four players to average double-double this conference as he led Petron to a third-place finish after the eliminations with a 9-5 win-loss record.

Petron earned a semifinal ticket and a best-of-seven showdown with defending champion Talk ’N Text after sweeping Meralco, 2-0, in their best-of-three quarterfinal series.

Santos actually leads the tourney in rebounds, and is fourth in scoring behind Powerade’s Gary David (22.5), B-Meg’s James Yap (19.0) and Petron rookie teammate Chris Lutz (18.33), and second in blocked shots with 1.5 a game.

Williams, the 2008 MVP, had 32.92 SPs a game for second place in the BPC derby.

Petron guard Alex Cabagnot is third with 31.88 SPs, followed by Yap (31.38), TNT’s Harvey Carey (30.77), David (30.69), Jason Castro of TNT (30.64), Powerade rookie Marcio Lassiter (29.94), Barako Bull’s Willie Miller (28.80) and Alaska’s Sonny Thoss (28.50).

Rain or Shine’s rookie sensation Paul Lee is just outside the Top 10 with 28.27 SPs a game. In his first season in the pro league, Lee leads Rain or Shine with averages of 13.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 0.9 steal.

The top five in the stats race after the semifinal playoff will make up the final list for BPC award candidate. The winner will then automatically become a contender for the season’s MVP award.

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