July 23, 2010 by Sydrick Salazar
The voting system is crap if he lost.
Rico Maierhofer of BMEG is the 2009-10 PBA Season Rookie of the Year!
Even the second round draftees of that batch contributed well for their respective squads like Pong Escobal, TY Tang, and Jeff Chan. One undrafted player, Mark Yee, has become a tenacious and feared player in his position.
This batch sucked though.
The 2009 Draft batch barely made an impact this season. Some players were disappointing while others never caught on. Some were unfortunate also. San Miguelâ€™s first round draft choice was James Sena. When he was picked tenth by the Beermen, his college, the JRU Heavy Bombers was still in title contention which was why he reported late in their training camp. Add the fact that the Beermen are overloaded in every position, you canâ€™t blame San Miguel for cutting him.
Of course everyone that follows the PBA knows about the Japeth Aguilar controversy.
The Rookie of the Year was basically fought by an explosive beanpole capable playing both forward positions but is playing on an overloaded squad and an undrafted player who used his â€œfree agent statusâ€ wisely to land on a team that will seriously use his services.
THE FINAL RANKINGS:
10 JERWIN GACO â€“ Technically still a rookie, Gaco became the oldest and most experienced rookie of the batch (Althoughâ€¦ his entry to the league couldnâ€™t have been possible if not for Mikee Romero tying up with Barako Coffee).
9 MARCY ARELLANO â€“ The former UE spitfire shared playing time with TY Tang and Don Dulay in Rain or Shineâ€™s PG spot. Hopefully heâ€™ll grow as a player in his sophomore season.
8 KEVIN WHITE â€“ Jimmy Alapagâ€™s nephew had a ton of playing time in Ginebra with Jayjay Helterbrand injured. However with Helterbrand and now Mike Cortez in their stable, White failed to log a game in the Fiesta Cup.
7 RAMSEY WILLIAMS â€“ The loss of Wynne Arboleda due to â€œfan interactionâ€ prompted the Lina franchise to search for a PG. While Williams was barely a threat, he played well as Air21â€™s backup quarterback.
6 CHRIS ROSS â€“ Technically without Japeth, he was the second top pick. Unfortunately he looks lost playing alongside the big boss. His scoring was sorely missed by Coca-Cola which prompted the group to trade him to the Sta. Lucia Realtors.
5 OGIE MENOR â€“ It seems like Leo Isaac was fond on using this prep San Beda slasher. Menor almost averaged in double figures for the Barako Bulls in the recent Philippine Cup. However, when Junel Baculi stepped in as coach, Menor became the forgotten man. The Sta. Lucia trade gave his young career a kickstart.
4 RONNIE MATIAS â€“ Look out for this player. Built by Yeng Guiao in the form of Leo Najorda (with more muscle though), Matias had a lot of flashes of brilliance as an Air21 player. He can score in the 20â€™s and he can also ram the boards and play import stopper. His consistency is his main problem but expect him to get a bigger role next season.
3 JERVY CRUZ â€“ He was expected to be a contender and it seemed that Rain or Shine was the perfect team for this former UAAP MVP but the transition for him proved to be the hardest. He was undersized and he needed to cut his bulk so he can slide to the SF or PF position. He is still a feared rebounder but indeed his rookie year was a struggle.
2 JOSH URBIZTONDO â€“ No team drafted him on draft day and everyone was shocked with this development. However, Urbiztondo saw this as an opportunity. He looked to Sta. Lucia, a team that is a PG from being a complete squad. He played well for the Realtors and if only the Realtors had a better standing in the two conferences, then heâ€™ll likely be a strong candidate for the award.
1 RICO MAIERHOFER â€“ He is technically the draftâ€™s top pick. Air21 stated that had they known Japeth will pull that act then they would have picked him instead of the Smart-Gilas guy. While Rico isnâ€™t really BMEGâ€™s scoring options, this â€œbiggerâ€ version of Paul Artadi can score when needed, can rebound, and can play defense. It feels like heâ€™s a giant ball of energy. He could color his hair red and call himself Hanamichi Sakuragi and people would go wild for that!
And if I need to go technical, Maierhofer was the only rookie properly used in both the Philippine Cup and the Fiesta Cup. Urbiztondo led the rookies in minutes but when Pong Escobal and Chris Ross came in, his minutes dropped. Ronnie Matias was the scoring leader but like I said, heâ€™s inconsistent. Maierhofer is the top rebounding and blocking rookie of the season. He also played more games and was voted to this seasonâ€™s All-Star match.
And yes, the championship BMEG had and the semifinal seeding they got now are factors to further consider the fact that indeed, Rico Maierhofer is this seasonâ€™s Top Rookie (Urbiztondo, Matias, and Menorâ€™s teams never got out of the Wildcard phase)!
So thatâ€™s that.
Now itâ€™s time to check out the seasonâ€™s MVP.