The PBA’s Best of the Week: March 12-17, 2014

This is the first of what I hope will be a regular series of posts about the best performers for every week in the PBA. Unlike the NBA, our local pro circuit doesn’t really have any citations for Player of the Week and other similar accolades, so this is something that I hope will satiate fans who want their hardcourt heroes duly recognized.

This past week, of course, saw a lot of very impressive performances, but three players, in particular, really stood out. Each of these guys led his respective team to a 2-0 record this past week, which definitely helped pad his case to be counted among the Best of the Week.

There will be three citations in this series of posts: Import of the Week, Rookie of the Week, and Player of the Week.

Without further ado, here is the inaugural set of players for Hoop Nut’s PBA Best of the Week:

Clockwise from top right: Ian Sangalang of San Mig Super Coffe,
Jayson Castro of Talk N Text, and Brian Butch or Meralco.

Brian Butch (MER) - 34.5ppg, 20.5rpg, 1.5apg, 1.5spg, 2.0bpg, 6.0 triples, 69.5 EFF
- Butch did his best Dirk Nowitzki or Kevin Love impersonation this past week, knocking down six threes in each of the Bolts’ two games. He shot 54.5% from beyond the arc, which is certainly uncommon in these parts, especially for a man his size. The man recently dubbed  “Polar Bear,” however, is far from a one-trick wonder. Butch also hauled down 41 rebounds this week while also tallying 3 steals and 4 blocks overall. The best part, though, was this — Meralco won both its assignments to move up to 2-1 in the team standings.

Richard Howell (TNT) - 30.5ppg, 20.0rpg, 3.0apg, 3.0spg, 67.0 EFF
- The former NC State standout was also a beast this past week, averaging 30-20 in both TNT wins. Had it not been for Butch’s torrid sniping, Howell would have gotten the top shelf instead.

Ian Sangalang (SMC) - 13.0ppg, 6.0rpg, 28.7 EFF
- Sangalang doesn’t have a higher player efficiency rating than 2013 top overall pick Greg Slaughter, but the big difference this past week is that the Mixers went 2-0 and the Gin Kings went 0-2. In both wins by San Mig Super Coffee, Sangalang was big, finding his sweet spots around the basket, and being ultra-efficient despite playing an average of just 22.5 minutes per game.

Greg Slaughter (GIN) - 10.0ppg, 8.5rpg, 1.5apg, 2.0bpg, 35.3 EFF
In my book, Slaughter is still the undisputed leader in the Rookie of the Year race, but the knock on him is that he hasn’t (yet) been able to lead Ginebra to win more games this conference. Gregzilla needs to be more aggressive and effective in his nearly 29 minutes per outing.

Jayson Castro (TNT) - 17.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.5apg, 1.5spg, 2.0 triples per game, 36.0 EFF
- The best point guard in Asia struggled against the San Miguel Beermen last Friday, but he made up for it against Barako Bull, running rings around his foes and shooting the lights out from practically everywhere. His Tropang Texters are alone at the top with an immaculate 4-0 record, and he’s #3 in the conference’s EFF list right behind Asi Taulava and Jeff Chan.

Gary David (MER) - 14.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.0apg, 1.0 triples per game, 28.2 EFF
- El Granada is enjoying a splendid start to the Commish Cup, and his performances this past week further validated just how he remains one of the top two guards in the country. Sure, he struggle from long range, making just 2 of his 9 trey attempts, but he balanced this out by being active on the boards and making plays for his teammates.

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