The best and the finest players of MPBL-Anta Rajah Cup

THE Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League has yet to give individual citations, except the tournament’s best player.

In, we have pooled the best and the finest individuals of the recent MPBL-Anta Rajah Cup and we came up with a list of First and Second teams of the top players who shone the brightest.

Here’s our list:

Second Team 

Ian Melencio, Imus ( Guard) — This spitfire guard caught the fancy of MPBL fans with his firebrand play. Considered as a legend in “Larong Labas”, the 5-foot-10 guard from the Imus Bandera-GLC Truck and Equipment became an instant star in the league where he nearly singlehandedly carried the struggling team from Cavite.

Melencio emerged as the second best scorer in the recent tournament, averaging 15.9 points, next only to Gary David.

JP Calvo, Navotas (Guard)  — As ex-pros were dominating the inaugural staging of the MPBL, a college standout was able to steal the spotlight.

JP Calvo, a guard out of Letran, was able to dominate at the point guard spot for most stretches in the tournament for the Navotas Clutch of then coach Elvis Tolentino.

Unfortunately, the Clutch failed to advance to the semis, but his 14.5 points per game average was enough to put him in the Second Team among the best and the finest performers.

Dave Moralde, Muntinlupa (Forward) — Dave Moralde is one of the league’s best two-way players. He is one among the top 10 scorers in the league (averaging 13 ppg) and third best in steals (1.5 spg).

But one of the great things about the 6-foot-2 swingman is his ability to take over during clutch situations, one of the reasons why the Muntinlupa Cagers-Angelis Resort made their way to the championship round.

Gary David, Bataan (Forward) — The multiple scoring champion in the PBA has brought his scoring prowess to the MPBL, his new sanctuary.

Playing for his hometown, Bataan, David averaged 20.8 points per game, the bets in the tournament, and his ability to take over during crunch time was still very much evident why the struggling squad was able to catch the last bus to the quarterfinal round.

Jay Collado, Quezon City (Center) — The only player who averaged in double-double, Jay Collado deserves to be inserted in the First Team had Quezon City only advanced into the semifinals.

The burly but shifty center averaged 14 points and 10.17 rebounds. He is also the league’s top shot blocker with an average of 1.9 blocks per game. Collado’s stats line were MVP-type, but the Capitals just couldn’t get past the quarterfinal round.

First Team

Juneric Baloria, Parañaque (Guard) — Juneric Baloria won’t get a call from a PBA team if he didn’t catch the fancy of one of the squads.

Baloria was like “Mr. Clutch” during their quarterfinals showdown with Quezon City and the former NLEX Road Warrior averaged close to 14 points per game to be in the top 10 among the best scorers in the league.

The former University of Perpetual Help guard was also one among the best three-point shooters in the league, hitting 33-percent from beyond the arc.

Allan Mangahas, Muntinlupa (Guard) — If one would be selected as the best point guard in the league, I would give it to Allan Mangahas.

The player who had a brief stint with Meralco in the PBA, made the MPBL as his virtual playground, as he led the league in assists (5.3 apg) and steals (1.8 spg) while keeping a hold of the Cagers on their way to reaching the championship round.

Chito Jaime, Muntinlupa (Forward) — His experience in the PBA certainly made Chito Jaime a solid presence when he joined the MPBL.

He emerged as the third best scorer in the league, averaging close to 15 points per game and one among the top 10 rebounders in the league with an average of 7.4 caroms a night.

His toughness has made Muntinlupa a legitimate title contender.

Val Acuña, Batangas City (Forward) — He had his shares of struggles in the finals as he was a marked man, but Val Acuña has been a picture of consistency for most part of the tournament.

The former B-Meg/San Mig Coffee player averaged 13.5 points per game (no.8 in the league) and the second best three-point shooter with a 38-percent clip.

More importantly, his championship experience was one of the reasons why the Batangas City Athletics-Tanduay were able to go all the way to win the inaugural championship.

Jhaymo Eguilos, Batangas City (Center) — The best performer in the finals series. The 6-foot-5, former Far Eastern University stalwart  was the second bets shot blocker in the league (1.5 bpg), a feat he shared with his teammate, Jayson Grimaldo.

He was also No. 6 in rebounds (8.8 rpg) and became his team’s go-to-guy at the post. His inside and out game had given coach Mac Tan’s offensive game more flexibility as he eased up the load on scorers like Acuña, fellow ex-pro Lester Alvarez, Sixth Man Teytey Teodoro, college standout Bong Quinto and forward Paul Varilla.