Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s Prince Caperal nipped Phoenix Super LPG’s Justin Chua to bag the Most Improved Player in Sunday’s PBA Special Awards Night.
Caperal prevailed over Chua and Phoenix teammate Jason Perkins, Meralco’s Reynel Hugnatan, NLEX’s Raul Soyud and Rain or Shine’s Javee Mocon after showing significant improvement during the PBA Philippine Cup bubble.
The former Arellano center received 2,447 points while Chua placed second with 2,096. Caperal topped the player votes (144) and the PBA Commissioner’s Office (2,000) while placing second in media votes (303).
Chua settled for runner-up honors after topping the media votes (2,000) and receiving 96 votes from the players.
Caperal got the biggest break of his career in the bubble, emerging as one of Ginebra’s key players.
With Greg Slaughter out following a saga with Ginebra management early in the year, Caperal received significant minutes from coach Tim Cone and posted 7.8 points on 43-percent shooting with 3.9 rebounds in 22 games.
It was a stark contrast to his 1.2-point, 1.5-rebound numbers in 34 games during the 2019 season.
Caperal became the sixth player to win the Most Improved award, joining Dante Gonzalgo (1990), Rey Cuenco (1991), Pido Jarencio (1993), Elmer Lago (1999) and teammate Scottie Thompson (2017-18).