How did the fans react to the winners of PBA Awards

Published January 18, 2021, 12:07 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Most Improved Player Prince Caperal of Barangay Ginebra (PBA Images)

Fans on social media spent the early aftermath of Sunday’s PBA Awards Night weighing in on whether those bestowed were deserving or if some were left out of consideration of the top honors.

Much of the discussion centered on the selection of the Best Player of the Conference, Elite Five, Outstanding Rookie and Most Improved Player as PBA followers felt there were several players snubbed of either awards.

Some pointed out at TNT’s Ray Parks Jr., who fell short of not only the BPC plum but also a spot in the Elite Five despite topping the Statistical Points race at the end of the bubble.

Parks led the stats category with 704, but didn’t gain any traction as far as votes were concerned after placing fourth in the media tally (118), finishing dead last among players (4) and third in the PBA Commissioner’s Office (50).

Read: Stanley Pringle bags Best Player of the Conference award

The sophomore guard also missed out on a spot in the Elite Five which went to BPC winner Stanley Pringle of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Matthew Wright of Phoenix Super LPG. 

Voters had a hard time selecting the two guards required in composing the Elite Five with Pringle, Wright, Parks and TNT’s RR Pogoy all deserving. But they were left with the difficult choice of having to leave out at least one.

Wright, who settled for second to Pringle in the BPC, narrowly missed out on winning the award despite a considerable amount of votes from the media and players.

Wright was the media’s top player with 868 and second among players with 53 but failed to receive a single vote from the PBA, allowing Pringle to secure the BPC award.

Despite being fourth in the stats category and placing second in media votes, Pringle topped the player votes and the PBA Commissioner’s Office to emerge as the Philippine Cup’s “Bubble MVP.”

Ginebra ended up getting three of the four individual honors, with Arvin Tolentino falling short to Meralco’s Aaron Black in the Outstanding Rookie derby.

Controversy should be the last to think about but most Ginebra fans were up in arms as to why Black was selected over Tolentino. Black was second in stats (811) and the PBA Commissioner’s Office (150), got the nod of the media (1022) but was dead last among five nominees (19).

Tolentino placed second in the race after he was fourth in stats (727), second in media votes (575), tied for first with Magnolia’s Aris Dionisio in player votes (54) and third in votes from the PBA office (50).

Some explained that Black truly deserved the award after a solid campaign that saw Meralco advancing to the Philippine Cup semifinals for the first time. While Tolentino wound up being part of a champion team, some argued that there were games where the ex-FEU star struggled, numbers-wise.

A few suggested that Alaska’s Barkley Ebona, who settled for third, had a stronger chance than Black or Tolentino given his strong start in the bubble. Ebona received 300 after being the top choice of the PBA Commissioner’s Office but was third in stats (764) and media votes (161) and fourth in player votes (21).

There were plenty who seemed to be scratching their heads at Prince Caperal’s choice as the Most Improved Player over Phoenix’s Justin Chua.

Caperal topped the player votes (144) and the PBA Commissioner’s Office (2,000) to slip past Chua, who led the media votes (2,000) but got 96 votes from the players and received none from the league office.

Caperal was a big revelation during Ginebra’s title run, filling in the shoes left by Greg Slaughter to become one of the team’s key players.

The bubble turned Chua into one of the league’s best big men, as evident with his league-best 1.6 blocks while also posting 11.7 points and 6.7 rebounds.

Fans were also wondering about the absence of stats from the Most Improved criteria. Under league rules, votes from the media and players are 40 percent each while the 20 percent will come from the PBA.