By JONAS TERRADO
Scottie Thompson’s run of form that led to a PBA Governors’ Cup Best Player of the Conference award has put him in serious consideration to win the coveted Most Valuable Player.
But the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel star is likely to face stiff competition from TNT rookie Mikey Williams in what could go down as a difficult choice for those tasked to pick the best player of the league’s 46th season.
Fans on social media and the working press have raised the possibility of a tight race between the two players who put up impressive performances since the season began in July 2021.
There are pros and cons in selecting either Thompson or Williams as there was no clear favorite throughout the season unlike in past years when San Miguel Beer’s June Mar Fajardo handily won most of his six MVP trophies.
Recent history favors Thompson, who at presstime was trying to secure Ginebra’s fourth Governors’ Cup title in the last five editions against Meralco in Game 6 of their series at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Thompson took his BPC plum after a series of standout games highlighted by double-double or triple-double efforts enabled Ginebra to go on a deep run despite a detour-filled eliminations and placing just sixth entering the playoffs.
He is likely to be named Finals MVP if Ginebra is able to succeed in its title bid last night.
Should a championship and the series’ best player end up landing on his hands, Thompson may have raised a strong case to nab his first career MVP trophy.
But Thompson and Ginebra began the season in misery, as they had to win a playoff match to secure the eighth and last quarterfinals berth before being booted out by eventual champion TNT.
Thompson even missed the final three games of the All-Filipino tourney held in Bacolor, Pampanga when he was forced to enter the league’s health and safety protocols.
That conference saw Williams waxed hot when it mattered as TNT was able to win its first PBA title since the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup. His three-pointers and flashy drives to the hoop against Magnolia gave Williams the Finals MVP award.
Williams carried that momentum into the Governors’ Cup which saw TNT win five in a row at the end of the elims to place third and hold a twice-to-beat advantage against Ginebra.
But TNT couldn’t capitalize on the bonus as Thompson and Ginebra went on to win both quarterfinal matches.
Some say that Williams may have been a lock had the Tropang Giga finished off the Gin Kings. Instead, there will be a deep soul searching among voters — namely the media, players and the PBA Commissioner’s Office — to determine which of the two is deserving.
Also on the cards for Williams is the possible chance of becoming just the second player to win the MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season which would equal the feat of Benjie Paras back in 1989.
NorthPort’s Robert Bolick and Magnolia’s Calvin Abueva are two players who could also be considered, albeit with very distant chances of snatching the award from Thompson or Williams.
Bolick is among the top statistical leaders in both conferences but NorthPort only reached the quarters of the Philippine Cup while missing out on a playoff spot in the Governors’ Cup.
Abueva was hailed as the Philippine Cup’s Best Player of the Conference, but his campaign in the Governors’ Cup was marred by an injury that forced him to miss majority of the elims.