The Top Five PBA Centers Right Now (March 11, 2014)

I don’t think there has ever been an era in Philippine hoops when we’ve had so many tall and talented centers available. Gone are the days of Marlou Aquino being the lone dominant guy 6’7 or taller. Gone are the days of players like Bonel Balingit or EJ Feihl being little more than crowd-drawing novelties. In this day age, the big men rule the lanes, what with June Mar Fajardo winning the Best Player of the Conference in the 2013-2014 Philippine Cup and others like Sonny Thoss and Greg Slaughter continuing to play really well. At least in terms of skilled slotmen, it’s an exciting time for Philippine basketball.

Without further ado, here they are – the top five centers in the 2013-2014 PBA season as of March 11, 2014 (as always, this is based on the Player Efficiency ratings as calculated by

It is the era of the big man in the PBA.
(composite image by Enzo Flojo/Hoop Nut)

5. Beau Belga (ROS) – 10.5ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.8apg, .300 3pt%, 27.3 EFF
-  Perhaps due to Rain or Shine not really having a singular go-to-guy, Belga’s contributions are a little understated on the stat-sheet. Still, I doubt if any self-respecting PBA fan wouldn’t consider him among the most versatile and effective bigs in the land, despite the fact that, at 6’6, he’s a little on the short side. He does make up for this with his girth, outside shooting, and his trademark physicality, all of which continue to make him one of the most dangerous centers in the country.
4. Sonny Thoss (ALA) – 14.5ppg, 8.6rpg, 2.7apg, 1.1bpg, .504 FG%, 35.9 EFF
- Of all the players on this list, Thoss probably has the most polished low post game. He has great footwork for a guy his size, and he can hit from as far as 18 feet. He has been really consistent so far this season, too, which makes him all the more dangerous for opposing centers. I wouldn’t be surprised if Thoss ends up as the best player on coach Luigi Trillo’s squad by the season’s end.

3. Asi Taulava (A21) – 13.9ppg, 13.6rpg, 1.8apg, 37.5 EFF
- At 41, Taulava is definitely a dinosaur in the PBA, but he continues to prove how he still has the strength and the bite to compete against even the up-and-coming bigs of the league. His daily double-double is nothing short of a marvel for someone his age, and something tells me he will continue to defy the odds well into 2014. Of course, whether that results in more wins for Air 21 is another matter altogether.

2. Greg Slaughter (GIN) – 15.2ppg, 9.8rpg, 1.4bpg, 1.4apg, .519 FG%, 37.8 EFF
- The leading Rookie of the Year candidate continues to pour it on in the second conference despite the presence of the big imports. It looks like Ginebra’s battalion of coaches (Is it Ato Agustin? Al Francis Chua? Juno Sauler?) have collectively prioritized Greg over Japeth in the rotation alongside Leon Rodgers, so that meands Gregzilla’s production shouldn’t taper off too much. Case in point? Greg has, on average, played 9 more minutes than Japeth this conference, averaging about 12.5ppg and 7.0rpg. In contrast, Aguilar’s production has plummeted to just 9.0ppg and 4.5rpg.

1. June Mar Fajardo (SMB) – 16.4ppg, 14.9rpg, 2.6bpg, 1.5apg, .514 FG%, 43.6 EFF
- Yes, he hasn’t played a lick of basketball in the Commish Cup despite the Beermen already having two games in the books, but, honestly, June Mar is just on a different level as far as local centers are concerned. He’s norming a beastly double-double while also blocking shots and basically being an all-around awesome center. With new import Kevin Jones hopefully making SMB even tougher up front, look for Fajardo’s life to get even easier when he makes his return.

Outside looking in:
Rafi Reavis (SMC) – 24.0 EFF
Mick Pennisi (BAR) – 23.7 EFF
Dorian Peña (BAR) – 23.6 EFF

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1 Comment

Tibay talaga ng idol kong si asi! Pero yung junmar at greg talaga future ng pba! Saan nga pala si japeth? C/F siya diba?