The Annual #BallerAwards: The Best of the PBA in 2014

In lieu of a year-ender, I felt it would be better to go position-by-position and look at the best ballers of 2014.

In this post, I will talk about the guys who did really well in the Philippine Basketball Association in 2014. Perhaps they led their teams to conference titles. Perhaps they led the league in a certain statistical category. Perhaps they made history. Perhaps they did all of those things.
The Best of the PBA in 2014.
Best PBA Center and PBA Breakthrough Player of 2014: June Mar Fajardo (San Miguel Beer)
- 2014 was the Year of the Kraken, and if he manages to lead SMB to a title (any title) in 2015 and then help Gilas in a big way, then 2015 will be another Year of the Kraken. The 6’10-6’11 behemoth not only improved by leaps and bounds, he was M V P. In his second season. Wrap your heads around that. Wrap around the fact his numbers had a crazy jump from 2012-2013 (12.1ppg, 9.3rpg, 1.2bpg) to 2013-2014 (16.8ppg, 14.2rpg, 2.1bpg). Wrap around the fact he kept on improving all throughout the FIBA Asia Cup, the FIBA World Cup, and the Asian Games. Wrap around the fact he led San Miguel to the Finals of the 2014-2015 Philippine Cup even before Christmas. Wrap around the fact he is just 25 years old. Holy cwrap.

Best PBA Power Forward of 2014: Arwind Santos (San Miguel Beer)
- Here’s something interesting — if the 2012 PBA Draft had never happened (meaning no June Mar Fajardo & Calvin Abueva), Arwind Santos would be the best performing player in the PBA right now. No, I don’t think he deserved to be MVP in 2012-2013, but, hell, he’s playing EVEN BETTER this season. Fajardo is the new face of the Beermen, but if not for Santos’s redefining his game (less inside, more outside and in transition), SMB wouldn’t be in the Finals right now. Sure, RDO, Ping, and Japeth all went to Spain and put up highlights, but I posit that had Santos been there (read: allowed by SMC), he would’ve been at least just as good.

Best PBA Small Forward of 2014: Calin Abueva (Alaska)
- Unlike Fajardo, Abueva didn’t have a superbly impressive sophomore effort. The Beast, in fact, went through the dreaded sophomore slump, seeing his numbers sink across the board. Still, despite the dip in production, there was still no swingman as great as Calvin throughout the entire year. Not JC Intal. Not Jared Dillinger. Not Gabe Norwood. Not Chris Lutz. Definitely not Chris Ellis. And, if there’s still any doubt in your minds, have you seen him play so far this season?! As of now, Abueva is my early season PBA MVP. Boom. Take that to the bank.

Best PBA Shooting Guard of 2014: James Yap (San Mig Super Coffee/Purefoods Star)
- In terms of pure numbers, there were other off-guards who did better. There’s Lassiter, Caguioa, Yeo, Romeo, Chan, and even Yap’s own teammate, PJ Simon. But Yap has two things that NONE of those guys have — a Finals MVP trophy for the 2014 Commish Cup and a Finals MVP trophy for the 2014 Govs’ Cup. One almost gets the feeling Big Game James only comes to play in big games (hence the moniker, duh!), but, man, when he does decide to flip the switch, he is still one of the country’s best and smoothest at sinking those jumpers. I’m calling the 2014 version of James Yap as Mr. Boomshakalaka (partly because his current girlfriend, Michela Cazzola, is boomshakalaka!). 

Best PBA Point Guard of 2014: Paul Lee (Rain or Shine)
- The entire Asian continent and the whole basketball world finally got a glimpse of the Lee-thal Weapon, and it was great to see that the Tondo product did not disappoint. Remember the way he hit those pressure-packed free throws with NO TIME LEFT to lift Gilas to its first podium finish in the FIBA Asia Cup? Remember how he was repeatedly shaking and baking and wheeling and dealing in #Spain2014 and #Incheon2014? I think it’s a fair thing to think he and Jayson Castro will run the show for coach Tab Baldwin’s Gilas this year. 

Best PBA Newcomer of 2014: Stanley Pringle (GlobalPort)
- He doesn’t look like he’s fresh out of college, and he doesn’t play like he’s a wide-eyed young buck starstruck by his more seasoned peers. No, Stanley Pringle is not a typical PBA rookie. He has actually played like a seasoned veteran and nobody should be shocked if he gets to be on any of the Mythical Teams by season’s end. I mean, he’s the only guard and only rookie in the top 6 of this season’s Player Efficiency leaders. The next-closest frosh? TNT’s Matt Rosser at #23. That’s how far the rest of the pack has been from Pringle, the definite runaway ROY favorite.

Best PBA Coach of 2014: Tim Cone (San Mig Super Coffee/Purefoods Star)
- So Tim Cone should look back at 2014 with a lot of fondness. He defended the Govs’ Cup title, pocketed a rare four-peat, and bagged his SECOND PBA Grand Slam. Tapos ang usapan.

Next Post »
0 Comment