Weâ€™re still almost halfway into the elimination round of the 2006-07 PBA Talk N Text Philippine Cup and already there are several notable rookies who are more making a strong case for the yearend Rookie of the Year Award.
Leading the pack of this yearâ€™s exciting rookies are the 2006 PBA Draftâ€™s number 1 and 2 overall selections: [tag]Kelly Williams[/tag] of [tag]Sta. Lucia Realty[/tag] and [tag]Arwind Santos[/tag] of the [tag]Air21 Express[/tag]. Williams is leading all rookies in scoring (14.75 ppg) and rebounding (11 rpg) while ex-FEU stalwart Arwind Santos is the numero uno shotblocker among rookies with an astonishing two swats per contest. Santos also ranks 2nd among rookies in average points per game (14.4 ppg) and in steals (1.2 spg).
Second round pick [tag]Chris Pacana[/tag], who was drafted a lowly 15th overall by the [tag]Coca Cola Tigers[/tag], is making the other nine teams in the league regret he wasnâ€™t picked ahead by pacing all rookies in assists (4 apg) and steals (1.33 spg). The 6-0 Fil-Am guard from St. Francis of Assisi has been relegated to the sidelines in his teamâ€™s first two games but responded beautifully when coach [tag]Bonky Favis[/tag] thrusted him into the lineup in the teamâ€™s October 13 game against Red Bull. The Tigers won that game courtesy of Pacanaâ€™s superb quarterbacking skills (Stat lines: 13 points, 7 boards and 3 assists). Pacana has not looked back since.
The PBA Draftâ€™s third, fourth and fifth overall selections: [tag]Joseph Yeo[/tag], [tag]LA Tenorio[/tag] and [tag]Gabby Espinas[/tag] are also providing solid contributions for the Coca Cola Tigers and the San Miguel Beermen. The high-flying Joseph Yeo, nicknamed â€œThe Ninjaâ€ for his aerial forays and no fear attitude, is averaging 10ppg, 4.6 rpg and 1.2 apg in 26 minutes per contest relieving main star [tag]John Arigo[/tag]. San Miguelâ€™s rookie pair Tenorio and Espinas have been a splendid job taking the cudgels from the Beermenâ€™s injured stars [tag]Danny Seigle[/tag] and [tag]Danny Ildefonso[/tag]. Tenorio ranks third in assists (2.8 apg) among rookies and could also score (11 ppg) if he wants to. Espinas is the 2nd leading rookie rebounder with an average of 9.4 rpg and provides the Beermen a tough defender in the post (one block per game).
Welcoat rookie center 6-7 Jay-R Reyes, the leagueâ€™s youngest player, is proving everyone that he is unfazed of the competition. In his first five games as a pro, Reyes has put together all-around averages of 13.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 0.8 spg. The Dragons other rookie Junjun Cabatu is also performing creditably with 10 ppg, 6.8 rpg and 2.0 apg.
Letranâ€™s deadly duo [tag]Boyet Bautista[/tag] (Purefoods) and [tag]Aaron Aban[/tag] (Alaska) are not getting any substantial playing minutes due to their teamsâ€™ superior depth at the point guard and small forward spots. Bautista (11.25 mpg) is playing behind the Chunkee Giantsâ€™ [tag]Roger Yap[/tag] and [tag]Paul Artadi[/tag] while Aaron Aban (6.0 mpg) is competing with [tag]Tony de la Cruz[/tag], [tag]Jeffrey Cariaso[/tag], fellow rookie [tag]Christian Luanzon[/tag] and [tag]Eddie Laure[/tag]. But make no mistake about it. Both have great talent and upside to be a starter in the league. In his most memorable game so far, Boyet Bautista scored 11 points in just 15 minutes in an 67-86 blowout loss to the Brgy. Ginebra Gin Kings last October 7.
To rank the neophytes, we used an efficiency rating to determine who is making the most out of his given time on the playing court.
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