Five Impact Players So Far in the Current PBA Season

One glance at the current PBA standings will reveal an interesting and surprising fact — Alaska is the league’s best team right now. And the biggest reason for that? Calvin Abueva. 

We’ll talk about him here, of course, but he’s not the only one who’s made a really big impact on his team early this season. In this particular post, we’ll look at five guys who’ve been able to stamp their class on their respective teams and, to some degree, helped their squads become competitive in the race for spots in the second round of the 2014-2015 Philippine Cup.

Five big impact players so far this season.

Calvin Abueva (Alaska Aces)
- Is it possible for the 2013 Rookie of the Year to be playing even better right now than he did two seasons ago? Apparently, the answer is a resounding YES.

This could be the year The Beast becomes the MVP.
(image by Nuki Sabio/PBA)

Just looking at his career numbers:
2012-2013: 12.3ppg, 9.4rpg, 1.8apg, 38.4 FG%, 31.6 EFF
2013-2014: 9.2ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.8apg, 33.2 FG%, 26.2 EFF
2014-2015: 16.6ppg, 12.8rpg, 2.9apg, 45.6 FG%, 40.4 EFF

- After having to go through the proverbial sophomore slump, it sure seems The Beast has roared back into the form we’ve all come to know and love. I mean, he’s the only non-big averaging a crazy double-double, and his team is currently atop the team standings. Pretty awesome!

Stanley Pringle (GlobalPort Batang Pier)
- Is it too early to predict that this guy is going to be Rookie of the Year? Of course it is, but who are we kidding? The only thing that will stop him is armageddon. Otherwise, GlobalPort will ride his wicked crossover and unstoppable hop-step all the way to the second round of the Philippine Cup and, with a little luck, maybe even beyond that.

Stanley Pringle as a ROY favorite? No doubt about it.
(image by Nuki Sabio/PBA)

His current numbers:
2014-2015: 15.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 5.0apg, 2.0spg, 45.5 3pt%, 1.3 triples per game. 

- With those numbers, it shouldn’t be too surprising for PBA fans to actually think of him as the best point guard in the entire country.

Aldrech Ramos (NLEX Road Warriors)
- Okay, okay. Stop before you fling the tomatoes and lettuce at me. This is true. The guy picked fifth overall in the 2012 PBA Draft is finally living up to his billing, and then some. He struggled to find his way with San Mig Coffee and Alaska, and it took him two seasons, but the former FEU big man has finally seemed to find his niche in the pros.

Aldrech Ramos has morphed into a sweet-shooting stretch 4.
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/Sports5)

Compare his numbers from seasons 1 & 2 to the current one:
2012-2014: 4.3ppg, 2.2rpg, 32.2 3pt%, 0.5 triples per game, 45.3 FG%
2014-2015: 11.9ppg, 4.3rpg, 72.7 3pt%, 2.3 triples per game, 66.7 FG%.

- You don’t have to get LASEK. You’re not seeing double. And, no, I didn’t type in the wrong digits. Aldrech Ramos IS making more than 2 triples per game and hitting long toms at a ridiculous 73% rate. He’s putting up nearly three times his scoring average from 2012-2014, for crazy’s sake! Now, if this kid isn’t an impact player, then I don’t know who is. 

Yousef Taha (Purefoods Star Hotshots)
- Another guy from the draft class of 2012 suddenly making a splash and turning some heads is former Mapua center Yousef Taha. He’s no June Mar Fajardo, of course, but he has been rock-solid as the Hotshots’ starting center, providing a lot of physicality and tenacious defense. In his latest game, Taha actually owned, scoring 14 points on 6/7 FG shooting on top of hauling down 9 rebounds, handing out 3 assists, and blocking 2 shots.

Be honest. Did you ever think Yousef Taha could be a solid PBA big?
(image by Nuki Sabio/PBA)

His numbers:
2012-2014: 2.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 0.6apg, 0.3bpg, 36.0 FG%
2014-2015: 8.1ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.7apg, 1.3bpg, 57.6 FG%

- So who do we blame for Taha’s breakout season? Is it Tim Cone’s being able to find a way to fit him into the system? Is it the tutelage of Marc Pingris? Is it just a matter of playing 24 minutes per game for the first time in his career? Who know, but whatever it is, Purefoods would do well to let it continue.

Raymond Almazan (Rain or Shine Elasto-Painters)
- The 6’9 former Letran center was already pretty impressive last season, playing alongside Extra Rice, Inc. and constantly developing into a solid big man. His energy and athleticism brought a whole new layer to the Painters’ frontline, and his presence has definitely helped make ROS all the more dangerous. For this season, the 2013 third pick remains a vital cog for coach Yeng Guiao, even increasing his production.

Raymond Almazan is the new face of the ROS frontline.
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/Sports5)

2013-2014: 5.9ppg, 5.6rpg, 55.6 FG%, 23.1 EFF
2014-2015: 10.1ppg, 8.4rpg, 56.2 FG%, 30.0 EFF

If the Painters do win a conference title this season, Almazan will be a big part of it. He has become that important. Is he a game-changer for ROS? I sure think so. 

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