K-Will Faces Stiff Challenge

On: 13 August 2008

Kelly Williams

Sta. Lucia Realtors supporters and believers will find out later this evening if the SLR superstar and top player in the All-Filipino Conference, Kelly Williams, will be crowned PBA's 2007-08 Most Valuable Player (MVP) during the annual awards night set prior to Game 4 of the Smart-Fiesta Cup Finals at the Araneta Coliseum.

Crowding Williams for the MVP plum are Air21’s Arwind Santos, Alaska’s Willie Miller, Ginebra’s Jayjay Helterbrand and Purefoods’ Kerby Raymundo. Among the four, Santos provides the strongest challenge having finished No. 2 in the MVP statistics race despite Air21 not making the quarterfinals of the previous conference.

Williams normed 35.5 SPs in 53 games this season, retaining the No. 1 spot he held since winning the Best Player of the Conference in the Philippine Cup and leading the Realtors to their first-ever crown without imports last March. Santos, on the other hand, remains the sentimental favourite after averaging 33.9 SPs through the end of the eliminations of the Fiesta Conference.

Unlike in past MVP races, statistical points accumulated by players this season have entirely gone through a different process. Bonus points, awarded to players whose teams have advanced deeper in a conference, have been left out.

Williams, who grew up in Detroit, Michigan and became Sta. Lucia’s first-ever player with a foreign blood, averaged 16.7 points and 11.1 rebounds in the Philippine Cup. He was one of only four players to average in double digits in points and in rebounds outside of Asi Taulava (Coke), Raymundo and Santos in the season-opening conference.

For the Rookie of the Year (TOY) category, many already expect SLR's Ryan Reyes and third pick overall in last year's draft to claim the award over top pick Joe de Vance of Welcoat, Ronjay Buenafe (Coke), Chico Lanete (Purefoods) and Doug Kramer (Air210). Reyes is the league's leader in the number of steals last season as he averaged at least 2.11 per outing.

Unlike the ROY though, both SLRs Nelbert Omolon or Jospeh Yeo will have a stiffer competition for the Most Improved Player (MIP) Award coming from Cyrus Baguio (Red Bull), Helterbrand, Juthy Valenzuela (Ginebra), Mike Hrabak (Red Bull) and Mark Macapagal (Coke).

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