June Mar Fajardo leads a curious cast of big men in this list
of the top 5 centers in the PBA.

There are several good centers in the PBA, but only a select few are in the upper echelon. In fact, there are three centers among the league’s five most efficient players. Naturally, all three are on this list. Strangely enough, though, two of those centers are still among the league’s up-and-coming cagers, while the other one is among the elder statesmen. Add two other bigs already past their primes and this, indeed, makes for a very curious list. The interesting thing here, however, is how the future of the league will most likely be shaped by this position, mainly because of how #s 1 and 3 will probably dominate in the very near future.

Without further ado, here they are – the top five centers of the entire 2013-2014 PBA season (as always, this is based on the PlayerEfficiency ratings of

5. Mick Pennisi (BAR) - 9.0ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.1apg, 2.2 triples per game, .415 3pt%, .767 FT%, 24.7 EFF
The southpaw center nailed more three-pointers per game this season than any other center and was pretty much a dead-shot when he was open. He’s no longer an imposing presence in the paint (I mean, look at those rebounding numbers), but no other slotman spreads the floor like this wily old veteran. Shooters will always have jobs in basketball, which means Pennisi will still probably be in the PBA for a considerable amount of time.

4. Sonny Thoss (ALA) - 11.1ppg, 7.6rpg, 2.4apg, 30.1 EFF
With the advent of younger and bigger centers as well as the emergence of his youthful teammates, Thoss’s role in Alaska has not been as prominent as before. Still, he’s a constant double-double threat and is among the league’s best back-to-the-basket operators. Thoss is now headed towards his sunset years, but that shouldn’t deter him from remaining among the country’s top men in the middle. Who knows, maybe ten years down the line, he might still be as effective as the #2 guy on this list?

Sonny Thoss is still a top-tier low post operator in the PBA.
(image by Paolo Papa/Sports 5)

3. Greg Slaughter (GIN) - 14.6ppg, 10.1rpg, 1.5apg, 1.4bpg, .532 FG%, 37.4 EFF
Gregzilla isn’t MVP material yet, especially since the Gin Kings haven’t exactly been stellar, but he has adjusted well to the rigors of pro ball. I mean, a double-double with more than a block a game while shooting better than 53% from the floor in his first year? No way that’s not awesome, Ginebra’s mediocrity notwithstanding. I just wish he was able to join Gilas in its international training so he could improve even more. #Sayang #Obey

2. Asi Taulava (AIR) - 14.8ppg, 13.4rpg, 2.0apg, 38.0 EFF
The 40+ year-old man-mountain is as fab as ever, scoring down low, rebounding like a devil, and basically just stamping his class in every contest for Air 21. Now that the Express have been repackaged as the NLEX Road Warriors, Taulava should have an even bigger role as the team’s main anchor in the paint and foremost mentor to the young guns. And given how he’s taken care of his physique so well, it doesn’t seem unreasonable for him to continue as one of the league’s top five players next season.

Asi Taulava -- ageless as ever.
(image by Paolo Papa/Sports 5)

1. June Mar Fajardo (SMB) - 16.8ppg, 14.2rpg, 1.4apg, 2.1bpg, .549 FG%, 43.4 EFF
I love how June Mar’s game has really grown from his unproductive days in the ASEAN Basketball League to his shaky start in the 2012 PBA Philippine Cup and now to his MVP campaign in just his sophomore effort in the pros. He’s certainly more assertive in rebounding, more confident on offense, and more successful in protecting the rim. There’s no question that he was the most productive player in 2013-2014, but it was certainly a sorry sight seeing him get embarrassed in the FIBA Asia Cup by some of our continent’s younger centers. I mean, this is our MVP we’re talking about. #StillALotToLearn

June Mar Fajardo has conquered the PBA, but now he needs
to conquer Asia.
(image by Paolo Papa/Sports 5)

Outside looking in:
Raymond Almazan (ROS) - 23.3 EFF
Beau Belga (ROS) - 21.8 EFF
Rafi Reavis (SMC) - 18.3 EFF

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