2010-11 PBA LEO Awards: The Review



I was in Baguio with my girlfriend and her sister when I picked a Monday broadsheet with Jimmy Alapag holding the MVP trophy.

Sure, I was happy that the Mighty Mouse finally got to that level but... did the players and media all voted for Jimmy?

Anyway, the 2011 LEO Awards pulled in a bunch of surprises but all in all, the right people won.

Game starts now.


SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD
MY PICK: Ryan Reyes
WINNER: Sonny Thoss

Sonny Thoss maybe “The Boss” inside the court but he has been logging heavy minutes with barely any violations. I’m not a keen observer of this award but I’m happy for Thoss.


ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM
MY PICK: Ryan Reyes, Alex Cabagnot, Gabe Norwood, Arwind Santos, Marc Pingris  
WINNER: Ryan Reyes, Arwind Santos, Marc Pingris, Willy Wilson, John Wilson   

Ryan Reyes is one of the best rebounding guards in the country today and he’s also one of the league leaders in steals. Arwind Santos and Marc Pingris averaged in double-doubles this Governor’s Cup and they are basically the best defensive forwards in the history of the league. But then there are the two Wilsons. I’m kind of shocked that Willy and John got the nod and besting Gabe Norwood and Alex Cabagnot. Willy probably got the nod because despite his size he was a great help to Ginebra’s cause and John Wilson was instrumental during the Commissioner’s Cup. John Wilson is a goldmine for the Kings’ future.


MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
MY PICK: Jason Castro
WINNER: Jason Castro

The Blur Jason Castro played well despite playing in Jimmy Alapag’s shadow. Playing outside Jimmy’s shadow, he exploded big time. With the way he performed this season, the PBA had it right.


ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
MY PICK: Rabeh Al-Hussaini
WINNER: Rabeh Al-Hussaini

Again, this pick posed no surprises. No rookie came close to Rabeh Al-Hussaini this season. The kicker in this pick is that Rabeh managed to bring his “franchise player”-like tendencies to a star-studded Petron team. If given the playing time next season (with Jay Washington returning) expect Rabeh to break the sophomore slump and because the scoring center Petron has been desperately yearning.


MYTHICAL SECOND TEAM
MY PICK: Jason Castro, James Yap, Kelly Williams, Joe Devance, Ali Peek
WINNER: Jason Castro, James Yap, Joe Devance, Ali Peek, Jay Washington

Clearly Jason Castro can’t get the PG spot with Jimmy Alapag in the picture. If I’m going to pit Mark Caguioa against James Yap, I’d choose The Spark because Yap has only sent his team to the semis twice. Joe Devance never saw Finals action so this Mythical Second Team citation is basic. As for Ali Peek? There were only two nominees for the center spot and Thoss ranks better. Despite the fact that Jay Washington got injured, I always thought that the Best Player of the Conference award is a clear shot for the Mythical Five. Especially since the BPC he owns is the most important one, I thought the PBA dropped it when they gave the Mythical Five to Kelly Williams.


MYTHICAL FIRST TEAM
MY PICK: Arwind Santos, Jay Washington, Sonny Thoss, Mark Caguioa, Jimmy Alapag
WINNER: Arwind Santos, Kelly Williams, Sonny Thoss, Mark Caguioa, Jimmy Alapag

I thought for sure Arwind Santos will win the MVP award after his strong showing in the Governor’s Cup. This is what – his fourth almost-MVP year? Oh well. Mark Caguioa would have won it for me if Ginebra made at least two finals. I am not sure about Kelly Williams and Sonny Thoss is the best position for his spot. Like I said I thought Jay Washington was an easy pick for the M5. And speaking of easy picks, how can you not make a Mythical First Team without the 2011 MVP?


MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
MY PICK: Arwind Santos
WINNER: Jimmy Alapag

Stat-wise, I thought Arwind Santos was robbed. If this was the tail end of his PBA career, he’ll probably resemble Nelson Asaytono. For the interest of nostalgia though, Jimmy Alapag takes the cake. He has been with the Tropang Texters since 2003 and he has been known as one of the best point guards in the league... ever. Also, Alapag’s leadership propelled the Tropang Texters to a possible grand slam. It has been fifteen years since the Alaska Milkmen ran away with that distinction and in their conference victories; Alapag is a two-time Finals MVP. Sure, one of the problems I had facing the decision was his lackluster Governor’s Cup performance. Fact is, the player and the media votes played a huge deal in this citation. It was as if to say that you can have all the stats in the world but in our eyes, Jimmy Alapag is this season’s MVP.

And for this I congratulate him.


I would like to have the Talk N Text Tropang Texters complete a grand slam. With the way their season went, it’s sad to see them not succeeding. With all the individual honors finished, this is the last thing we need to finish this awesome season.

Game over.

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