PBA: Johnathan Williams was the PBA Press Corps’ first choice

Feb 11, 2024

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Tyler Bey of Magnolia wins the war, but Johnathan Williams of Phoenix wins the battle.

Williams won the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Best Import Award over Bey, even though Magnolia upset Phoenix in the quarterfinals to set up the current Finals matchup against San Miguel.

When records of the Summary Points Value were released to the public, discussion centered on the points that Williams had won in the media vote. The underdog Phoenix import won the coveted trophy in a closely contested race that could have gone any way thanks in large part to these factors.

Voters must rank their top three picks from the list provided by the league following the semifinals in order to determine who should win the Best Import and Best Player of the Conference awards. As a result, the numbers and performances of players who play in the finals will no longer be included in the overall statistics.

SPs were led by Boatwright

Bennie Boatwright of San Miguel was ranked first with 60.3 statistical point standings (SPs) after the conclusion of the semifinals, followed by Williams (50.7 SPs) and Bey (50.6 SPs).

The imports and players have been ranked to calculate their total points, and appropriate weight percentages are provided.

Williams came in second in statistics with 554 but received the majority of the media votes at 424. With 39 player votes, he came in third.

On the other hand, Bey received the most votes from the players (76), the second most from the media (279), and the third most from statistics (553).

Boatwright received the most votes from players (63), the most from the media (156), and the most statistics (659).

Although there is no minimum number of games required for an import to qualify for the award, Boatwright’s mere seven games from late in the eliminations to the semifinals was the argument used against him.

Conversely, Williams and Bey were imports who had been with their respective mother teams from the beginning, having participated in at least 15 games each.

Williams is approved by PBA Press Corps

Although there are other press members that routinely cast their votes as well, the PBA Press Corps holds the majority of media votes.

Since the Press Corps casts their votes collectively rather than separately, it is regarded as a bloc voter.

Before selecting a candidate, the group typically meets for extended periods of time, sometimes becoming emotional, to consider the benefits and drawbacks of each application.

Williams defeated Bey by the narrowest of margins—two points—to win the group’s vote, but she was not successful in garnering the votes of other media members who cast separate ballots, as shown by the SPV.

Williams and Bey were tied for the best all-around player in the league, according to the SPS the league released prior to the finals. The Phoenix import averaged 24.5 points, 16.4 points, 5.2 assists, and 1.6 blocks, while his Magnolia counterpart averaged 26.9 points, 13.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 2.2 steals.

It’s as close as it gets, even in the semifinals. Bey contributed 21.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists, compared to Williams’ 18.5 points, 16.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists.

Maybe very few people saw a rebuilding Phoenix club making it to the playoffs, much less the semifinals, even if it was always expected that a formidable Magnolia squad would reach the finals or perhaps win the championship.

Williams played a significant part in all of it. He played unselfish basketball and served as the spark plug that sealed the massive hole in Phoenix’s middle by elevating the people around him.

Similarly, Phoenix’s run in the semifinals was its first in a conference full of imports.

Simultaneously, the SPV indicated a poor voter turnout, reflecting the small number of players that cast ballots.

It looked that only two teams, or thirty players, had cast their votes, which Bey and Boatwright, regrettably, divided among themselves.

In the PBA, the problem is not new.

The latest foreign winner of the title, which honors the late Bobby Parks, seven times, was Meralco’s burly Arinze Onuaku. However, Onuaku did not lead his team to the Commissioner’s Cup finals in 2016.

In addition, Onuaku shot only 48% of his free throws from the field, which is even poorer than Williams’ 55.9 percent foul shooting, according to PBA head statistician Fidel Mangonon III.

In the 2011 Governors’ Cup, Arizona Reid of Rain or Shine emerged victorious in the Best Import competition, which featured a final between TNT and Petron.

The list can go on forever since it has happened in the past, it is happening now, and it will happen once more in the future.

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