MANILA, Philippines – Former teammates Jamie Malonzo and Robert Bolick were competing against one another for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Best Player of the Conference honor.
At the conclusion of last week’s eliminations, Bolick and Malonzo were revealed as the top two contenders for the conference’s top individual prize.
Bolick, 27, is leading the BPC race according to the most recent league data given before the playoffs. He has 35.9 statistical points and leads the league in scoring with a 21.7 average per game.
Malonzo, on the other hand, came in second place with 31.3 sps. In addition to leading the Kings in scoring with an average of 14.3 points per game, he also averages 6.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.3 blocks a game.
Malonzo and Bolick were former NorthPort teammates.
Interestingly, the third-seeded Kings will play the sixth-seeded Batang Pier in their series, which begins on Wednesday, and the two teams will face off in the best-of-three quarterfinals.
Following Jio Jalalon of Magnolia and CJ Perez of San Miguel Beer in the current rankings is Barangay Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson, the reigning MVP, who is also vying for the BPC trophy.
With 31.1 sps, Thompson is lagging behind Malonzo, while Perez and Jalalon each posted 30.4 and 30.3, respectively. Jalalon leads the league in thefts per game with 2.4.
In the meantime, Earl Clark of NLEX is leading the way in the competition for the Best Import plum.
With a scoring average of 32.3 points and a total of 56.0 sps, the 34-year-old Clark tops all immigrants in scoring.
However, Clark’s chances of winning the prize will undoubtedly be hampered by the Road Warriors’ inability to get past the first round of the mid-season tournament. Quincy Miller of Converge, Justine Brownlee of Barangay Ginebra, and Nick Rakocevic of Magnolia are all hotly contending for the honor.
Like Clark, Miller was a former NBA player, and he is currently in second place with 55.3 sps, followed by Brownlee (52.4) and Rakocevic (52.3), in that order.
Brownlee, the two-time winner of the Best Import award, leads all imports in assists (7.2), while 24-year-old Serbian Rakocevic, who is currently on his second overseas assignment, topped the rebounding category with 18.6.
Arvin Tolentino of NorthPort (29.08), Javee Mocon of Phoenix (28.6), Christian Standhardinger of Barangay Ginebra (27.9), Don Trollano of NLEX (29.09), and Jeron Teng of Converge also make the Top 10 of the BPC lists. (RG)
Meanwhile, Andrei Caracut emerges as the ‘Man of the Hour’
With a decisive victory over NLEX in a knockout set to complete the playoff cast, RAIN or Shine maintained its victorious status in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Elasto Painters, who were on the verge of being eliminated, had a glimmer of hope when they managed to defeat the Road Warriors, 110 to 100, to advance to the quarterfinals on Sunday night at the Philsports Arena.
There were many heroes for Rain or Shine in the victory, but Andrei Caracut shone the brightest after erupting a career-high performance to win the unanimous award for Cignal Play-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the week of November 30 to December 4.
The Elasto Painters secured the eighth slot and a matchup against the visiting team and top-seeded Bay Area Dragons in the quarterfinals thanks to Caracut’s 19 points on three triples, seven rebounds, three assists, and no turnovers in 25 minutes of action.
Midway through the payoff period, when Rain or Shine went on a 14 to 2 run to break a tie at 87 and give themselves a sudden 101 to 89 lead going into the final minutes, the former La Salle sniper poured five of his entire output in a row.
Caracut, the 23rd overall pick in the 2021 draft, had six points, two rebounds, and three assists in Rain or Shine’s 90 to 106 loss to Magnolia, which set up their matchup with NLEX.
The combo guard helped the Elasto Painters storm into the playoffs in two games, averaging 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists for the team’s first conference under returning coach Yeng Guiao.
Caracut beat over Ian Sangalang of Magnolia and LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra for the weekly award.