ALTHOUGH Talk ‘N Text failed to advance to the finals, its top gunner in Jayson Castro still has something to look forward to which could serve as a consolation of sort for his fine performance in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
The 30-year old TNT who is known as the ‘The Blur’ for his quickness and sheer knack at open shooting, has kept his front-running position in the statistical points to remain the leading contender for the Best Player of the Conference.
Castro is slightly ahead with 38.3 average statistical points at the end of the semifinal round.
Fajardo, the San Miguel Beer slotman and two-time defending MVP, is .5 adrift of Castro after registering 37.8 SPs at the end of the semis.
The BPC, which is also prestigious next to the Most Valuable Player plum, has been the stranglehold of Fajardo for the past two years, and their statistical points could pretty well pose some difficulty in determining the winner.
The candidates’ statistical points account for 40% in the determination of the winner. The rest will be decided through balloting, with the media religiously covering the PBA representing 30%, fellow players 25%, and office of the commissioner 5%.
The winner will be announced prior to Game 2 of the finals series between Barangay Ginebra and Meralco on Sunday.
Castro is gunning for his fourth BPC award, in addition to his BPC awards in 2012-2013, 2014 (Commissioner’s Cup) and 2015 (Commissioner’s Cup).
Fajardo on the other hand is a four-time winner of the BPC on top of his two MVPs in his growing collection.
He won BPC during the 2013-2014, twice in 2015 season (Philippine Cup and Governors’ Cup) and this season’s Philippine Cup.
Actually, Castro and Fajardo were neck and neck back in the elimination round of the season-ending conference.
Castro posted 40.5 average statistical points after norming 21.5 points, 7.9 assists, 3.7 boards, and 1.1 steals in 11 games in the elimination, while Fajardo was within striking distance at 39.6 averages SPs.
Castro however maintained his lead after putting in remarkable numbers in the playoff round -- in the quarterfinals and the semifinals -- while Fajardo somewhat slowed down, especially in Game 5 where he only had one field-goal attempt in 35 minutes, although he hauled down 12 boards.
Meanwhile, veteran wingman Dondon Hontiveros has nothing but that in mind when he decided to forego retirement and agreed to re-sign with Alaska for another full season.
The 39-year-old admitted his desire to win yet another championship before finally hanging his jersey and begin charting a possible career in coaching changed his mind about his retirement plans.
“Yun ang pinaka-goal ko, so I have three more chances to do it,” said the Cebuano cager, who’s currently in Los Angeles for a well-deserved, two-week break.
Of course, on top of it all is the chance to finally nail an all-Filipino crown, the only title missing from his collection in his 16-year career.
“I guess all the teams naman yun ang inaasam,” said Hontiveros, who fell short in each of the four times he made to the Philippine Cup finals, including twice with the Aces.
It was shortly after Alaska lost a 3-0 finals lead against San Miguel in the last all-Filipino conference that Hontiveros verbalized his plan to retire by the end of the season.
He later told in an online interview with Spin.ph that emotions got the better of him.
“That time, emotionally drained ka na rin,” he recalled of the painful moment when the Aces lost the deciding Game Seven against the Beermen in what went down as the biggest finals collapse in the 41-year history of the pro league.
“Besides, naisipan ko rin na mabigyan na ng playing time yung mga younger players namin, like sila Rome (Dela Rosa), Kevin (Racal). Deserving na rin naman sila,” he said.
But deep inside him, Dondon is aware there’s still a few more years left in him despite his advancing age.
Turned out, the coaching staff of Alex Compton and Alaska management felt the same way about him.