The Top 5 Centers of the PBA 2016 so far
Sometimes I get the feeling that the PBA is no longer the small man or even wingman’s league. Sure, we’ve always had outstanding big men like Ramon Fernandez, Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codiñera, Dennis Espino, and Asi Taulava, but having the league completely dominated by frontliners like June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter is another thing altogether. Seeing guys like JMF, Gregzilla, and Raymond Almazan put up double-doubles left and right just opens my eyes to the reality that the game really has completely changed.
Without further ado, here they are – the top five centers of the 2015-2016 PBA season:
5. Raymond Almazan (ROS) – 10.9ppg, 8.9rpg, 1.1bpg, 50.0 FG%
The former Letran big has all but supplanted Beau Belga and JR Quiñahan as Rain or Shine’s top slotman. He has been so good that even Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin has seen it fit to invite him to be a part of the national pool. Given his God-given combination of size, agility, athleticism, Almazan, in theory, should be a great fit for Gilas, and if he continues to improve, he may be more of a beast for the Painters.
4. JP Erram (BLA) – 11.5ppg, 8.2rpg, 1.9bpg, 53.1 FG%
It’s quite unexpected that Erram is actually putting up better numbers in the PBA than he did in the UAAP, but perhaps he has finally become comfortable in his own skin and is part of a system where he is more of a focal point than a tangent. The Ateneo alumnus is currently recording a near double-double while also blocking about two shots a game. He certainly has the potential to be among the country’s best big men moving forward.
3. Asi Taulava (NLX) – 19.9ppg, 11.8rpg, 2.3apg, 51.9 FG%
How can one explain the fact that Asi Taulava continues to dominate in the paint in his early 40s? It’s uncanny and inexplicable. It’s plain crazy, but, hey, it’s really happening. The big Fil-Tongan veteran is norming a double-double for NLEX and showing the young guns of the league how it’s done. It’s crystal clear that he just doesn’t want to hang those sneakers just yet.
2. Greg Slaughter (GIN) – 22.7ppg, 14.4rpg, 2.7apg, 1.4bpg, 56.5 FG%
Big Greg has improved this season, and Ginebra has been better for it, though it’s not apparent judging by their current standing. Still, despite the Gin Kings’ own issues, Slaughter has blossomed under coach Tim Cone and he remains one of the brightest young talents in the league. I, for one, am hoping he makes it to Gilas 4.0’s final roster and gives a good account of himself in the #FIBAOQT.
1. June Mar Fajardo (SMB) – 24.6ppg, 14.0rpg, 1.9bpg, 1.5apg, 58.2 FG%
JMF is the BPC and MVP. He is the Kraken. He is the best Beerman, big man, and overall the best friggin’ player in the country. At his healthiest and best, Fajardo is an unstoppable force on offense and an immovable object on D. He is the very definition of game-changer. He is the kind of player for whom leagues make new rules or throw out old ones. There is no doubt that he will be remembered as one of the best PBA players in history.
Bradwyb Guinto (MAH) – 8.5ppg, 8.7rpg, 58.5 FG%
Beau Belga (ROS) – 11.4ppg, 6.8rpg, 2.1apg, 1.1 triples per game, 32.8 3pt%, 46.1 FG%
Mo Tautuaa (TNT) – 12.4ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.8apg, 53.8 FG%
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