The 2014-2015 season was a great year for point guards in the PBA. Gilas boys Jayson Castro, Paul Lee, and LA Tenorio were all impressive, while a couple of names rose from the roster of rookies. Veterans like Alex Cabagnot, Mark Barroca, and JV Casio also did well, while returnee LA Revilla made waves. Clearly, this is one position where the Philippines is not short on talent, but who were the cream of the crop?
Here are the top five point guards of the 2014-2015 PBA season, based on the Player Efficiency ratings:
5. Alex Cabagnot (SMB) – 11.1ppg, 4.5rpg, 4.7apg, 1.7 triples per game, 35.0 3pt%, 36.6 FG%, 27.8 EFF
– Cabagnot is entering the twilight of his pro career as he turns 33 later this year, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping him from remaining as one of the league’s most effective floor generals. He was certainly a big reason why SMB won two of three titles this past season, and he should remain an important piece as they try to defend their Philippine Cup crown in a couple of months. Simply put, he is just a well-rounded offensive threat. He has the touch from long range to keep opposing defenders honest, and he has excellent playmaking skills that enable him to make life easier for guys like Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos, and June Mar Fajardo.
4. Brian Heruela (BLA) – 10.6ppg, 4.9rpg, 5.2apg, 1.5spg, 43.1 FG%, 28.6 EFF
– Heruela needs to work on his outside shooting, but the stocky Cebu product has surely turned a lot of heads and carved his niche in the pros. Despite playing only 26 games this past season, the Pampanga-born Heruela has been able to rise through the ranks and finish among the top PGs in the PBA. He’s a great two-way player, too, making opposing playmakers work extra hard as he stay low and swipes at the basketball.
3. Paul Lee (ROS) – 15.6ppg, 4.5rpg, 3.3apg, 2.4 triples per game, 39.5 3pt%, 40.9 FG%, 84.3 FT%, 32.1 EFF
– Lee had a coming out party last year, burying the game-clinching free throws against China in the third-place game of the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup and playing well in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. Not surprisingly, his stock shot through the roof this season, and so did everyone else’s expectations. Lee stayed true to form, though, rising to the occasion and playing the best basketball of his career since his super rookie campaign. He posted career-highs in scoring, rebounding, and three-point shooting this season while also remaining as one of the league’s most dependable free throw shooters. Look for him to maybe contend for the MVP plum in 2015-2016.
2. Stanley Pringle (GLO) – 14.0ppg, 5.9rpg, 3.9apg, 1.5spg, 1.4 triples per game, 35.8 3pt%, 46.6 FG%, 75.8 FT%, 32.7 EFF
– The 28-year old rookie didn’t make much noise as the season wound down the past few months, but he still put up the numbers that earned him #2 on this list. GlobalPort has a bonafide gem in its hands, and the Batang Pier would do well to keep him along with Terrence Romeo. Remember how Jayjay Helterbrand and Mark Caguioa were once pretty unstoppable? Pringle + Romeo may actually be better than those guys — no kidding. This California native has displayed great basketball IQ on the floor while also being fearless. He finishes well even against bigger and stronger defenders and can hit from pretty much anywhere.
1. Jayson Castro (TNT) – 18.2ppg, 4.1rpg, 5.2apg, 1.2spg, 2.8 triples per game, 41.6 3pt%, 44.2 FG%, 72.6 FT%, 35.8 EFF
– Had TNT made at least the semifinals of the Governors’ Cup, Castro would’ve given June Mar Fajardo a much tighter battle for the season MVP plum. Alas, that was not to be as Castro’s Tropang Texters didn’t even make the quarterfinals. Still, Castro remained, by all intents and purposes, the second-most impressive local player this past season. He hit more than a 100 threes for the first time in his career (nearly three treys per contest!), was more efficient on both ends of the floor, and simply continued to improve in every facet of his game. He will be tested in the coming 2015 Fiba Asia wars, however, as guys like Mahdi Kamrani (Iran), the returning Liu Wei (China), Yang Dong-Geun (Korea), and even former teammate Sam Daghlas (Jordan) will be challenging his title as Asia’s Best Point Guard.
Mark Barroca (PUR) – 26.2 EFF
LA Tenorio (GIN) – 26.1 EFF
LA Revilla (KIA) – 26.0 EFF