Vic Manuel leads Best Player race, June Mar Fajardo lurks at 2nd place

Delfin Dioquino
Vic Manuel leads Best Player race, June Mar Fajardo lurks at 2nd place
'The Muscleman' leads the Alaska Aces to an 8-3 card and the twice-to-beat advantage heading into the quarterfinals to boot

MANILA, Philippines – Vic Manuel’s stellar and consistent play has paid off as he leads the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) race after the elimination round of the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup. 

Manuel, who has battled recurring injuries throughout his career, finally lived up to the billing that he is deadly when healthy as he averaged a local-leading 24.2 points to go with 6.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 11 games for the Alaska Aces. 

“The Muscleman” scored at least 20 points in all but one of Alaska’s games, leading the Aces to an 8-3 card with the twice-to-beat advantage heading into the playoffs to boot. (READ: Best Player of the Conference award not Vic Manuel’s priority)

With his averages combined with Alaska’s impressive record, the 31-year-old tallied a league-leading 37.2 statistical points (SPs) a game to leap over 4-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, who came at second with 36.8 SPs per game. 

Despite the arrival of Christian Standhardinger and import Renaldo Balkman, the 6-time BPC Fajardo still normed 19.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists to help the San Miguel Beermen finish the elims at 6th place with a 6-5 slate.

GlobalPort Batang Pier’s Stanley Pringle and Sean Anthony landed 3rd and 4th with averages of 35.4 and 35.0 SPs, respectively, while Meralco Bolt’s Chris Newsome notched the 5th spot with an average of 33.5 SPs. 

Completing the top 10 are Rain or Shine Elasto Painter’s Raymond Almazan (31.3), Phoenix Fuel Master’s Matthew Wright (30.7), Barangay Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar (30.5), San Miguel’s Alex Cabagnot (30.5) and TNT KaTropa’s Troy Rosario (29.9).

Meanwhile, Phoenix’s Eugene Phelps emerged as the leading contender for the Best Import plum with 55.1 SPs per game. Balkman is close at second with 53.4 SPs per game.


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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.