PBA best player race: Japeth Aguilar has everyone’s attention

Levi Verora
All eyes are on Japeth Aguilar after his heroics for Barangay Ginebra

CLUTCH. Japeth Aguilar (in dark uniform) delivered big in the clutch for Ginebra in a heart-stopping win over Talk 'N Text. Photo by Nuki Sabio/PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines – Riding on a FIBA Asia high and a mammoth crowd upon his Barangay Ginebra arrival, Japeth Aguilar reached new heights and proved he’s an overall package. He makes it to the top spot in Week 3 of Rappler’s PBA best player race.

1. (Last week: 4) Japeth Aguilar, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (▲)

19.8 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.2 SPG, 3.6 BPG, 53% FGs, 75% 3-PT FGs, 44.33 EFF

Japeth Aguilar is clearly on a mission. Just how dangerous can a team become when you have a lengthy 6-foot-9 forward who can shoot anywhere on the court? Aguilar was the lone bright spot in Ginebra’s loss to Meralco, and finished with a spectacular game against Talk ‘N Text where he provided two winning plays in crunch time. It seems he’ll also be vying for the Most Improved Player award at the end of the season.

2. (Last week: 5) Jayson Castro, Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters (▲)

21.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 52% 3-PT FGs, 85% FTs, 42.60 EFF 

The Tropang Texters may have failed to take the game last Sunday, but lightning-quick Jayson Castro showed his brilliance, as if trying to prove he’s Asia’s best guard. The 2013 FIBA Asia Mythical Team member drained 4 triples in the first half and finished with 25 points in just three quarters, displaying an array of moves.

3. (Last week: 2) June Mar Fajardo, Petron Blaze Boosters (▼)

15.4 PPG, 17.4 RPG, 2 APG, 0.6 SPG, 2.8 BPG, 60% FGs, 47.68 EFF 

June Mar Fajardo is also one of the most efficient players right now. Against Alaska, he drained a back-breaking long two with the shot clock winding down. He also shot an impressive 12-of-14 from the charity stripe. When you have someone shooting almost 2 of out his 3 attempts and grabbing almost 18 rebounds per night, you know your team’s going to be in good shape.

4. (Last week: 7) Jay Washington, GlobalPort Batang Pier (▲)

20.8 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 87% FTs, 42.85 EFF

The last time Jay Washington averaged this much, he won back-to-back Best Player of the Conference plums in a team that included Arwind Santos and Dondon Hontiveros. Washington shone even brighter now as part of Globalport’s leaders. While people thought he couldn’t deliver such numbers anymore, the 2005 first overall pick is proving them all wrong.

5. (Last week: 9) Sol Mercado, GlobalPort Batang Pier (▲)

18.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 5 APG, 0.8 SPG, 35.77 EFF

Of course, Batang Pier’s other leader, Sol Mercado is also a main reason why Globalport rose to .500 in the standings. PBA’s Player of the Week averaged 21.5 points, 5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists in back-to-back victories that enabled Globalport to reach the upper half of the PBA standings.

6. (Last week: 6) Chris Lutz, Petron Blaze Boosters (–)

14.8 PPG, 6 RPG, 7.8 APG, 1 SPG, 33.44 EFF

Chris Lutz is always known as a tenacious defender and an outside sniper especially when he suited up for Smart Gilas. But with Petron’s key court generals sidelined, Lutz played the point and exemplified unselfish attitude to help the Blaze Boosters maintain a flawless record. He’s ranked second in assists right now, just behind LA Tenorio, and that is amazing especially for someone who didn’t really play the point back in college.

7. (Last week: 1) LA Tenorio, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (▼)

11.6 PPG, 5 RPG, 8.4 APG, 2.6 SPG, 33.32 EFF 

LA Tenorio’s numbers dropped a bit after posting fantasy-like numbers in the first week. But he’s still up there, working silently to facilitate Ginebra’s offense.

8. (Last week: 3) Arwind Santos, Petron Blaze Boosters (▼)

16.4 PPG, 10 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 48% FGs, 38.8 EFF 

Arwind Santos is another silent operator. While much of the attention is now focused on Fajardo, the reigning PBA MVP is still chipping in respectable digits and helping Petron’s frontcourt on both ends.

9. (Last week: 20) Mike Cortez, Meralco Bolts (▲)

13 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 6.8 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 55% FGs, 46% 3-PT FGs, 100% FTs, 35.02 EFF

Mike Cortez is playing splendid basketball for the Bolts. The ‘Cool Cat’ is averaging personal-highs in points, rebounds, and assists in 5 games so far. It seems he’s found a home in Meralco and he’s leading the experienced group.

10. (Last week: 10) Joseph Yeo, Air21 Express (–)

15.7 PPG. 5 RPG, 5.3 APG, 0.3 SPG, 30% 3-PT FGs, 90% FTs, 34.3 EFF 

Joseph Yeo is becoming the face of Air21. Like Cortez, he’s averaging highs six games through the Philippine Cup. Express head coach Franz Pumaren just knows what role Yeo is capable of doing of and ‘The Ninja’ is there to oblige. (READ: Winless no more: Air21 dominates Barako)

The next 5: 

11. Mark Barroca, San Mig Coffee Mixers – 17.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.8 APG, 2.4 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 35.93 EFF
12. Marc Pingris, San Mig Coffee Mixers – 12.2 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 4.2 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 34.68 EFF
13. Greg Slaughter, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel – 13.6 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 1 APG, 0.2 SPG, 1.8 BPG, 36.03 EFF
14. Marcio Lassiter, Petron Blaze Boosters – 16.8 PPG, 5 RPG, 3 APG, 1 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 32.43 EFF
15. Jared Dillinger, Meralco Bolts – 14 PPG, 6 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 29.45 EFF

Looking in:

16. Calvin Abueva, Alaska Aces – 12.2 PPG, 9 RPG, 2 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 30.44 EFF
17. KG Canaleta, Air21 Express – 15.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 31.72 EFF
18. Sonny Thoss, Alaska Aces – 12.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.2 APG, 0.7 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 33.31 EFF
19. Jimmy Alapag, Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters – 12.2 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.4 APG, 0.2 SPG, 24.89 EFF
20. Gary David, Meralco Bolts – 17.8 PGG, 4.4 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 33.11 EFF

– Rappler.com



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