The Top 5 Centers entering the 2016-2017 PBA Season

Images by Paul Ryan Tan.

*This was written on Nov. 16, 2016.

The opening ceremonies of the new PBA season will commence on Sunday, November 20, 2016, and it will user in another year of amazing and exciting action from Asia’s first play-for-pay basketball league. In a few days’ time, we will finally be treated, once again, to the high-flying and buwis buhay feats of the best basketball players in the country. Before that, however, let’s look at some exciting players to watch heading into the 2016-2017 PBA Philippine Cup. In the previous post, I wrote about the Top 5 Power Forwards, but now let’s look at the Top 5 Centers heading into the 2016-2017 season.

*This is based on the Player Efficiency ratings as calculated by Stats are accurate as of November 16, 2016.

5. JR Quiñahan (GLO) - 11.7ppg, 4.9rpg, 19apg, 47.0 FG%.
- Quiñahan’s transfer to GlobalPort means ROS is looking to give up-and-coming big man Raymond Almazan a lot more playing time. On the flipside, it also gives Quiñahan the chance to be the #1 center for a team that many see can be a contender this season. The Cebu product, of course, is coming off his best season yet, and that should be a good indication of how well he will play for the Batang Pier in 2016-2017.

4. JP Erram (BLA) - 10.2ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.0apg, 1.9bpg, 54.2 FG%.
- The 6’8 Erram has improved dramatically compared to his rookie campaign, and he will surely figure even more prominently for Blackwater this coming season. Together with Art Dela Cruz and rookie sensation Mac Belo, Erram forms one of the most promising young frontcourts in the entire league. If he can make another leap in his production for 2016-2017, Erram could be the PBA’s next big thing.

3. Asi Taulava (NLX) - 13.9ppg, 10.3rpg, 2.1apg, 47.3 FG%.
- We all sound like broken records saying how Asi continues to defy Father Time, but that’s just the reality we’ve been given. The 6’9 Fil-Tongan is in the best shape of his life, and his experience has made him such an invaluable talent and leader for the Road Warriors. I mean, Asi can still score, rebound, and defend with the best of them. He is the PBA’s version of Tim Duncan, and that is certainly very high praise.

2. June Mar Fajardo (SMB) - 19.7ppg, 12.2rpg, 1.3apg, 1.4bpg, 57.3 FG%.
- 2015-2016 was JMF’s best season yet, and he won his third MVP trophy in a row, but, statistically speaking, he’s just the 2nd best center in the league. There are hardly any words that do justice to the 6’11 behemoth, of course, except for the fact that he can be unstoppable when he’s 100% healthy and focused. He is the single biggest reason why SMB can expect at least one title this coming season.

1. Greg Slaughter (GIN) - 19.7ppg, 117rpg, 2.0apg, 1.3bpg, 54.5 FG%.
- Gregzilla was hella good last season. He put up career-highs in scoring, rebounding, assists, and field goal shooting. Too bad he played only 26 games for the entire season. The fact is if Greg plays, he is the most productive player in the PBA, and to think the Gin Kings won the Govs’ Cup without him, too! When he does make his return at some point this coming season, he should flash his dominant form again and make Ginebra even more of a nightmare to play.

Honorable Mention:
Sonny Thoss (ALA) - 8.3ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.6apg, 49.3 FG%.
Raymond Almazan (ROS) - 7.4ppg, 6.0rpg, 50.4 FG%.
Mo Tautuaa (TNT) - 8.9ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.2apg, 53.8 FG%.




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