The 2016-17 PBA Philippine Cup resumed on Sunday, and the games saw barely any shake-ups in the standings. Phoenix and NLEX are both 2-1 after the former dealt the latter its first loss (102-95), while Ginebra's victory over GlobalPort (104-97) tied them with still-unbeaten San Miguel for the top seed.
If anything, these matches revealed the early contenders for Best Player of the Conference. Yes, we're only a couple of games in, but we have a feeling that these stars have the capacity to build on their strong starts.
Honorable mentions: Nino Canaleta (Meralco), Mac Belo (Blackwater Elite), Paul Lee (Magnolia Hotshots), Jayson Castro (TNT KaTropa)
Kiefer Ravena (NLEX Road Wariors 2-1)
15.3 ppg 8 apg 3.3 rpg 2 spg
Rookie of the Year? What about ROY-BPC? Don't let his last game—8 pts 4-13 shooting—fool you; Ravena has been as good as advertised, playing like he has been in the league for years now. It's astonishing that he is able to put up those kind of numbers under Coach Yeng and alongside talented guards.
Jeff Chan (Phoenix Fuel Masters 2-1)
18 ppg 67.5% fg 73% 3fg 4 rpg 3.5 apg
When Chan was traded to the Fuel Masters, he was viewed as a mentor to the team's young core, particularly main gunner Matthew Wright. But three games into his first full season with Phoenix and the Negros Sniper is leading Phoenix in scoring at a ridiculous rate from three-point territory. Looks like he isn't ready to pass the torch.
Greg Slaughter (Barangay Ginebra Kings 2-0)
21 ppg 62.5% fg 10.5 rpg 4.5 bpg
Barring any setback, this year is his for the taking. The reigning BPC and Governors' Cup champion has been nothing short of dominant since his return from an ACL injury. If Slaughter continues to make basketball look easy on both ends of the floor, then June Mar Fajardo should beware. Gregzilla is coming for that trophy.
Alex Cabagnot (San Miguel Beermen 2-0)
25.5 ppg 51% fg 4.5 rpg 4 apg
If we're being honest, Fajardo—24.5 ppg 65.5% fg 12.5 rpg 2.5 apg 2 bpg—is a better candidate. Although The Kraken is more likely to win a fifth-straight MVP than another BPC due to voter fatigue. Cabagnot is a shoo-in in this race, given how close he was from the individual honor last year (finished second to teammate Chris Ross).