Williams, Santos 1-2 in MVP Race

On: 02 August 2008

Kelly Williams

Journal Online, 02 August 2008

Kelly Williams already has a PBA title this season. He may end up winning the league’s most prestigious individual award, too.

The 6-foot-5 Sta. Lucia forward has amassed the highest statistical points (SPs) average despite his team failing to make it past the quarterfinals of the Smart PBA Fiesta Conference, according to statistics released yesterday by the PBA.

The 2006-07 Rookie of the Year has 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.

Williams averaged 37.5 SPs in the Philippine Cup, which has a 60 percent share in the overall voting process, and normed 32.38 SPs in the ongoing Fiesta Conference in which Sta. Lucia has performed poorly after finishing with a 7-11 (win-loss) record in the eliminations and getting swept by Ginebra in the best-of-three quarterfinal round.

He leads Air21’s Arwind Santos, the No. 2 in the MVP race. Santos is averaging 33.9 SPs through the end of the eliminations of the Fiesta Conference.

Willie Miller, the first guard to win the MVP at least twice, is in third spot with a 33.3 norm while Jay-Jay Helterbrand of Ginebra is at fourth (32.1 SPs) and Purefoods’ Kerby Raymundo at fifth with an average SPs of 31.9.

Rounding out the Top 10 in the MVP race are: Asi Taulava, Coca-Cola, 6th (31.5); James Yap, Purefoods, 7th (30.3); Cyrus Baguio, Red Bull, 8th (30.0); Mark Caguioa, Ginebra, 9th (28.8); and Danny Seigle, Magnolia, 10th (27.4).

If Williams goes on to capture the MVP, he will be the second player in three years to win the honor on his sophomore year. James Yap collared the MVP in his second season in the PBA in 2005-06, leading Purefoods to the Philippine Cup title and helping the Giants finish runner-up to Red Bull in the Fiesta Conference.

Williams could also end up as the 4th Fil-Am player to win the MVP if he is chosen after Ricardo Brown (1985), Taulava (2003) and Eric Menk (2004-05) and the 5th individual to win the MVP after winning Rookie of the Year honors after Brown, Benjie Paras, Allan Caidic, and Danny Ildefonso.

Paras, however, is a clear cut above the rest since he is the only PBA player to win the ROY and MVP on the same season (1989).

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 Taulava, Raymundo and Santos in the season-opening conference.

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