THE 2017 Philippine Basketball Association, with the semifinals starting today Sunday has proven to be an imports’ conference with locals, who lead all statistical categories, belonging to teams that have already been eliminated.
Calvin Abueva of the Alaska Aces leads in rebounding with 10.63 per game. Stanley Pringle of the GlobalPort Batang Pier leads in scoring with 19 per game. Chris Ross of the San Miguel Beermen leads in assists and steals with 6.45 (apg) and 2.82 per game. John Paul Erram of the Blackwater Elite is tops in blocks for locals with 2.27 per game.
Abueva entered the league with a bang in 2013 after establishing basketball history during his amateur career with the San Sebastian College Stags in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. He finished as leader in points, rebounds and assists at the end of his final season which is the first time this has happened in a major league in the Philippines.
He then led the Aces to the throne of that season’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup and has been the Alaska franchise player since then.
Abueva also averages 15 points, 2.25 assists, 1.25 steals and one block per game. This put him at eighth place in the chase for Best Player of the Conference award with 29.44 Statistical Points per game.
Pringle played college basketball for Pasco–Hernando State College and then Penn State in the US. He was the top overall pick of the 2014 PBA draft ahead of Kevin Alas, Ronald Pascual, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Chris Banchero, Rodney Brondial, Anthony Semerad and Jake Pascual.
Pringle also averaged 5.89 rebounds, 3.33 assists, 0.56 steals and 0.33 blocks per game for an average of 29.44 Statistical Points per game which put him at seventh place in the standings.
Ross was originally selected as the fourth pick of the 2009 PBA draft by the Burger King Whoppers who traded him to the Coca-Cola Tigers for their first-round pick in the 2010 Draft. After a one-year stint with the Tigers he was traded to Sta. Lucia in exchange for Paolo Mendoza.
One season later Ross—along with Chris Timberlake —was traded by the Meralco Bolts (who acquired the franchise of Sta. Lucia) for rookie guard AJ Mandani and the then highly regarded Gary David.
Ross was traded yet again to the Petron Blaze Boosters (now SMB) for Denok Miranda October, 2013. He has since found a home with the Beermen where he is their best perimeter defender and clutch shooter.
Ross was named Finals MVP after scoring a career high of 21 points to go with five rebounds and five assists to help the Beermen win Game 7 of the 2016 Philippine Cup Finals.
Ross also averaged 8.64 points, 4.36 rebounds and 0.09 blocks per game for an average of 25.45 Statistical Points per game.
Erram joined the PBA as the15th overall pick in 2013 by the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters and who then shipped him to the Elite.
The unheralded big man, playing for lowly Blackwater, has relied on hard work and dedication to his craft to improve every year and is slowly making waves and making heads turn with his steadily improving game.
SMB center and three-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo actually leads the Best Player of the Conference chase. He is followed by Chris Newsome of the MeralcoBolts, Greg Slaughter of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Arwind Santos of the Beermen, Jayson Castro of TNT KaTropa, Alex Cabagnot of the Beermen, Pringle and Abueva.
Baser Amer of the Meralco Bolts and Kevin Alas of the NLEX Road Warriors complete the top 10 in the BPC standings.
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