By JONAS TERRADO
Magnolia Pambansang Manok’s Calvin Abueva took a slight edge over TNT rookie Mikey Williams and NorthPort rising star Robert Bolick in the race for the Best Player of the Conference in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Abueva compiled 35.36 Statistical Points at the end of the elimination round after averaging 16.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.3 blocks in his first conference with the Hotshots.
Acquired from Phoenix Super LPG in an offseason trade last February, Abueva helped Magnolia win its first four games before ending the eliminations in third with an 8-3 slate.
The athletic forward nicknamed “The Beast” previously won Best Player honors in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup while playing for Alaska.
Not far behind is Williams, who produced 35.30 Statistical Points while playing a big role in the Tropang Giga claiming the top seed in the quarterfinals with a 10-1 record. The fourth pick in the draft produced 18.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.2 steals in 10 games.
Bolick is also within earshot of Abueva with 35.27 Statistical Points, carrying the Batang Pier back from a 1-3 start to the No. 5 seed in the quarters after averaging 18.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 7.3 assists.
Williams and Bolick highlighted a list of fresh faces who made their way in the top 10 of the BPC derby.
In fourth spot is Bolick’s teammate Jamie Malonzo with 31.5 SPs while ranked fifth is Abueva’s Magnolia pal Ian Sangalang, who posted 31.3 SPs.
San Miguel Beer’s CJ Perez is sixth at 30.7 SPs followed by Rain or Shine’s Javee Mocon (30.1 SPs), SMB veteran Arwind Santos (29.6 SPs), Phoenix’s Jason Perkins (29.4 SPs) and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s Scottie Thompson (29.3 SPs).
Notable players outside of the top 10 are former BPCs Christian Standhardinger of Ginebra in 11th spot with 28.9 SPs, San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo in with 28.8 SPs, Stanley Pringle of Ginebra in 14th with 28.3 SPs and Magnolia’s Paul Lee at 16th with 27.4 SPs.