The 2012 Leo Awards Predictions (Part 2)
July 28, 2012 by Sydrick Salazar
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So here’s the Leo Awards continuation of what I started. To get back at my “clairvoyance”, I chose Larry Fonacier to be my Sportsmanship Award winner, Paul Lee as my Rookie of the Year, Jeff Chan as my Most Improved Player, and the quintet of Gabe Norwood, Willie Wilson, Ryan Reyes, Chris Ross, and Asi Taulava as my All-Defensive Team.
The only thing remains on my list is who do you think will I put on my Mythical Ten and my Mythical Five.
And for that all important question – who is my MVP?
In the running for the Mythical Teams include Mark Caguioa, Gary David, James Yap, Paul Lee, JV Casio, Jimmy Alapag, Alex Cabagnot, Jayson Castro, Sol Mercado, Willie Miller, LA Tenorio, Cyrus Baguio, Macmac Cardona, Jeff Chan, PJ Simon, Arwind Santos, Ranidel De Ocampo, Gabe Norwood, Kelly Williams, and Sonny Thoss.
Looking at the nominees, you’d be surprised at the overabundance of guard-forwards in the lineup. If it was me, I’d add a lot more to this list like B-Meg’s Marc Pingris, Talk N Text’s Larry Fonacier, Petron’s Marcio Lassiter, and Meralco’s Asi Taulava. But then again, I’m just looking at the PBA website.
Anyway… game starts now.
MYTHICAL SECOND TEAM:
JAYSON CASTRO / TALK N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERS
It was hard for me to insert Castro in the Second Team because he was instrumental in leading the Tropang Texters to two of the three titles being contested this season. However, the three best players in the list are all virtually playing the same positions. Like I said, Castro was a potent cog of the TNT chagrin. The only problem that Castro had was the fact that he had to share minutes with Ryan Reyes and Jimmy Alapag at the PG spot and the injuries he got at various points in the season.
ALEX CABAGNOT / PETRON BLAZE BOOSTERS
In numerous occasions, the Petron Blaze Blazers should have lost that particular game. However, thanks to the endgame heroics of The Crunchman, things work great for his team. This is Cabagnot’s best scoring season to date and if you check out my Power Rankings, he’s always there. Perhaps the only thing going against him is that he failed to take Petron to a finals stint and if that’s the case, he can be removed from this list for Paul Lee, JV Casio, or reigning MVP Jimmy Alapag.
PETER JUNE SIMON / B-MEG LLAMADOS
While I should have gone with either Willie Miller or Macmac Cardona, I felt that it’s about time that The Scoring Apostle gets a Mythical citation. One of the reasons why James Yap’s scoring degraded tremendously was the surge of his. His stats aren’t that high but he made the shots Yap could have taken. Like I said, Simon had a lot of All-Star citations and I think it’s time for him to get a major prize. Besides, B-Meg participating in two finals with only one participant seems to be a travesty.
KELLY WILLIAMS / TALK N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERS
I would have wanted a Pingris, Taulava, or Lassiter sighting because I don’t really believe that Williams did enough to get this distinction. With that said, Williams was partly responsible for Talk N Text’s twin finals stints this season. One thing Machine Gun Kelly lost in his entry to the Tropang Texters is his ability to score. His lack of offensive presence was a major reason why Ranidel De Ocampo gets more sightings but you can’t cede the fact that he is still a defensive presence that is hard to stop.
SONNY THOSS / ALASKA ACES
Again I would rather have Asi Taulava in his place only because The Rock’s team got more post-elimination wins than Thoss’. However, you have to give it to who undoubtedly is the best center in the league at this point. The Boss paraded his topnotch inside action and people saw this as his blossom for domination (which is why a lot of teams want him). While LA Tenorio is the leader of the Aces, Thoss is the Aces’ inside anchor.
MYTHICAL FIRST TEAM
JAMES YAP / B-MEG LLAMADOS
Again we have to give it to Big Game James for managing to mix the things he learned from the Ryan Gregorio era to the current Tim Cone regime. B-Meg started out weak in the Philippine Cup before getting familiarized with Cone’s system. The familiarization brought them two finals appearances and a title. As we have said, this is Yap’s weakest MVP nomination to date since his play has been overshadowed by both Denzel Bowles and Marqus Blakely. But his weakest play better than most of the 145 players that played this season.
RANIDEL DE OCAMPO / TALK N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERS
Of course one can say that Mr. Wonderful had done wonderful things for Talk N Text this season, particularly in the Governor’s Cup. But he is a weak Mythical Five player – if there ever is one. I guess this is why most of the nominees in the list are mostly guards and guard-forwards – because most of the game changers this season come from those positions. With that said though, you have to know that Ranidel deserves the spot he is in – especially since Talk N Text still had an awesome season.
ARWIND SANTOS / PETRON BLAZE BOOSTERS
He is a stat hound and unless he injures himself or his game deteriorates, I don’t think we’ll see Santos slow down from the stat hoarding he is doing ever since he was selected second by the Air21 Express in the 2006 PBA Draft. Even if Petron never really got the season they would have wanted, he was still fantastic. While I would have wanted him to score more than concentrate on being a more talented version of Willie Wilson, what can he do with the overflowing talent in Petron?
GARY DAVID / POWERADE TIGERS
I am a huge Gary David fan. I mean HUGE! He transformed me into a Powerade fan this season even if I think their uniforms aren’t TV friendly (solid colors work). That’s why I hate Petron when they took out Lassiter because he was instrumental in giving David the help he deserves. Not since Alvin Patrimonio’s 1992 PBA Season did someone average 25 points and up consistently. It was like as if this is the MVP numbers a player should put up than the usual thing we are seeing in the past MVP winners. The problem is though – David and the Tigers had two chances to move to the playoffs of the import-laden conferences but bungled both chances.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER:
MARK CAGUIOA / BARANGAY GINEBRA KINGS
Like I said – I am a huge Gary David fan. But Mark Caguioa is a favorite of mine ever since he came off the bench and displaced the great Vergel Meneses as Ginebra’s fourth quarter gunner in 2001 to the shock of many. Mark Caguioa had a bad Philippine Cup because Gins coach Siot Tanquingcen experimented with the lineup to give more time to John Wilson and Rob Labagala. When that system failed, Caguioa returned as Ginebra’s top dog and Caguioa virtually repeated what he did last season where he almost won the MVP Award. This time though, he is a prime contender with two BPC titles from the import-laden conferences.
It is hard to beat The Spark especially since he claimed two BPC awards this season. I am good with either David or Caguioa as the top dog of the season. If David wins, Caguioa will be the first 2-time BPC Award winner in a season to lose the MVP Award. If Caguioa wins, David will lose to a person that won the plum despite his team not entering the finals in all three conferences.
There are four players who won the MVP award without winning a championship: U-Tex’s Bogs Adornado in 1980, Beer Hausen’s Ramon Fernandez in 1984, Shell’s Benjie Paras in 1989, and Ginebra’s Jayjay Helterbrand in the league’s 2009-10 season.
To David’s credit, three of the four mentioned never had BPC’s in their time.
But to Caguioa’s credit, when Sunkist’s Vergel Meneses (1995), San Miguel’s Danny Ildefonso (2000 and 2001), and Eric Menk (2004-2005 season – his first BPC was from the transition Fiesta Conference), all of these players won the MVP Award.
So whoever wins, will have a notorious piece of history inside their system.