The Top Five PBA Centers Right Now (January 21, 2014)

Maybe now more than ever, the center position in the PBA is chock-full of potentially game-changing talent. With the influx of young and highly-skilled big men, the PBA, and Philippine hoops in general, is on the verge of a new age. As proof of this, four of the league’s top ten players (in terms of player efficiency) are all natural centers.

With oldies-but-goodies like Asi Taulava and Sonny Thoss still playing high-level ball alongside greenhorns like June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, and Raymond Almazan, the future of frontlines looks mighty bright in the PBA.

In this post we will look at the top five power forwards in the 2013-2014 PBA Philippine Cup, based principally on their player efficiency ratings, or EFF, as calculated by PBA-Online.net.

Note: Stats as of the morning of January 21, 2014.


5. Rafi Reavis (SMC) – 6.1ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.2apg, 61.1 FG%, 25.6 EFF
- Lanky veteran Rafi Reavis isn’t top of mind when it comes to the most dominant centers conversation, but he’s a quiet workhorse who does his job anyway. Give the fact that he’s already 36 years old and he plays under 19 minutes per game, one has to admire his modest production. If he plays as much as the other guys on this list, he could easily put up double-double numbers every game.

Rafi Reavis, despite being unheralded, is one of the
 most efficient centers in the league.
(image by Paolo Papa/Sports 5)


4. Asi Taulava (A21) - 13.2ppg, 14.4rpg, 2.0apg, 37.6 EFF
- The 41-year-old BYU-Hawaii product continues to lord it in the paint, averaging a sublime double-double for the cellar-dwelling Express. He actually has the third-highest number of double-doubles this season, right behind young ‘uns June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter. It’s a pity we won’t be seeing Asi in the Philippine Cup anymore since Air 21 has been booted out.

3. Sonny Thoss (ALA) - 15.4ppg, 8.9rpg, 2.7apg, 1.4bpg, 52.0 FG%, 37.8 EFF
- So far, The Boss is having his finest season in the pros, averaging a near-double-double and filling the sheet on a regular basis. His 21-point, 7-rebound effort last night to thwart the Meralco Bolts was splendid, and it looks like he’s dead-set on giving Ginebra’s vaunted frontline a tough time in the quarterfinals. He seems more motivated than ever, and that means the rest of the league’s big men better watch out.

2. Greg Slaughter (GIN) - 15.7ppg, 10.2rpg, 1.2apg, 1.9bpg, 52.6 FG%, 38.8 EFF
- Despite the Gin Kings’ forgettable outing against TNT in their final game this past weekend, Greg Slaughter remains the frontrunner in the Rookie-of-the-Year race and one of the country’s best slotmen. The 25-year-old center is wasting no time making everyone see just what he can do. He scores in the paint and from as far as 10 feet out, he crashes the boards, and he blocks shots left and right. The future looks mighty fine for Ginebra, and is Slaughter is, quite literally, a big reason why.

1. June Mar Fajardo (PET) - 15.1ppg, 15.6rpg, 1.5apg, 2.5bpg, 49.0 FG%, 43.6 EFF
- Fajardo’s first two games back from injury were a little underwhelming, but his latest one was a masterpiece. The 24-year-old Cebuano native dropped 19 points and 15 rebounds on the Bolts, and we can all see that as a sign he’s back to his dominant ways. Look for him to give Barako Bull’s aging frontcourt a really tough time in the next round. Also, should Petron go deep into the Playoffs, Fajardo should be the favorite to win the Best Player of the Conference award.

June Mar Fajardo looks like he's back to his dominant self.
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/Sports 5)


Outside looking in:
Doug Kramer (PET) – 25.6 EFF
Dorian Peña (BAR) – 25.1 EFF
Beau Belga (ROS) – 24.7 EFF

  
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