Seven best two-way players in the PBA today

Call this the Swiss Army Knife team of the PBA.

While every player must exert energy on both ends of the floor, these men are incredibly versatile to impose their presence be it on offense or defense. They can score at will or help facilitate plays while shutting down their opponent. They can dominate the contest in a number of ways which makes them a threat anywhere on the court.

By the end of the game, these seven exceptional ballers leave a mark on every box in the stat sheet, making them valuable assets in clinching victories. The stats reflected here are taken from the 2017-2018 PBA season and are accurate as of April 30, 2018.

Chris Ross

That he was two steals away from the first quadruple-double in PBA history is a testament of his ability on both halves of the court.

He leads the league so far with 2.2 swipes per encounter and he is the anchor of the Beermen’s pressure defense. But though he often defers to his other explosive teammates in scoring, this does not mean that he is a pushover on offense. In a February 17 victory against Alaska at the Batangas City Coliseum, he led the team with 24 points and nine assists.

Throughout the 2017-18 Philippine Cup, he had averages of ten points, 5.6 rebounds, and six assists in close to 33 minutes of playing time.

John Paul Erram

It took a while before JP Erram turned into one of the best centers in the league today. But once he blossomed, the former Ateneo De Manila University standout became a thorn to every opposing ball club.

The pride of Cagayan De Oro just kept on improving. In his fourth season with the Blackwater Elite, Erram is norming 13.1 points and 2.1 assists in 32.8 minutes played per match. A big man with a sweet shot from the outside, he can also bang with the big boys inside as he collects 12.8 rebounds and 2.7 swats in 13 games played.

Calvin Abueva

What he lacks in height, he makes up with hustle.

Tenacity has been the calling card of 2015 PBA All-Defensive Team member ever since his collegiate days at San Sebastian. He brought the same script of determination when he made the pros which makes him either loved or reviled by fans. Say what you want about The Beast but there’s no dispute about his basketball excellence.

It is still mind blowing how the 6’ 1” Abueva can grab 10.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per outing in 11 games played. When he is not playing above the rim, he is also quick enough to disrupt passing lanes and pluck 1.7 steals per battle. But he won’t be named to two Mythical First Teams and one Second Team if not for his exploits on offense. So far, he is poised to have another solid season with a 14.5 point per game average in just 25 minutes played.

Japeth Aguilar

With Greg Slaughter out for action, Japeth Aguilar had to carry majority of the scoring burden for Barangay Ginebra. He did not disappoint by collecting 21.3 points to go with 2.6 per melee in 16 matches including two 30-point games in their five-game semifinals loss to San Miguel. Yet as he plays double duty on offense, he uses his athletic ability to shut down the rim as well.

In the same number of contests, the two-time PBA All-Defensive Team member earns 8.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 34 minutes of play. Over-all performances like these merited Aguilar a Mythical First Team and a Second team selection.

Jayson Castro

The Blur’s 0.7 blocks per game in 15 skirmishes is impressive for someone who often the smallest guy on the floor. But he won’t be the best point guard in Asia if he did not use his blistering speed to his advantage.

Because he can outrun the other nine players on the hard court, opposing teams have to be aware of his presence. Otherwise, this PBA 40 Greatest Players member will make them pay by with his 1.7 steals per fight. But as a seven-time Mythical Team selection and four-time Best Player of the Conference awardee, Castro is also a menace on offense. In 15 games with the TNT Katropa, he posts averages of 16.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists in just 28 minutes of action.

Arwind Santos

Thirteen seasons into his PBA career, Arwind Santos is showing no signs of slowing down.

Though he is playing with arguably the best starting five in league history, he is still a vital contributor especially in the Beermen’s vaunted defense. Despite his thin frame, he uses his leaping ability and impeccable timing to turn down 2.2 shots per contest which is second best among all active players. He also keeps his hands active to tally 1.4 steals per bout. The former FEU Tamaraw can also sky for 9.6 rebounds in close to 40 minutes of action.

But while 2013 PBA Most Valuable Player is not the main option of the San Miguel offense, he can still light it up on offense thanks to his much-improved three-point jumper. By the end of the 2017-18 Philippine Cup, he is the team’s third leading scorer with 16.5 markers per duel.

June Mar Fajardo

There’s no surprise here. He dominates statistical races en route to his four consecutive PBA MVPs. He’s at it again after winning his record sixth Best Player of the Conference tilt.

The 6’ 10” Fajardo is the heart and soul of the terrifying San Miguel presence on both sides of the game. In 20 games played so far, the pride of Pinamungajan, Cebu collects 23.8 points and a league-best 13.8 rebounds in 39 minutes of action. This includes his 42-point, 20-rebound performance in the Game Five come-from-behind victory against Magnolia that clinched the Beermen’s fourth straight Philippine Cup crown and gave him a second Finals MVP nod.

He takes no prisoners in defense either as shown by his 1.9 blocks per face-off. But even if he does not lead the league in that category, the presence of The Kraken in the lane alone is enough to alter the shots of those who dare attack the basket.

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