By Kabayan Jerome Lagunzad

Photo courtesy of Stanley Pringle Instagram

NORTHPORT star Stanley Pringle has dislodged former backcourt partner Terrence Romeo as the pro league’s most lethal scorer. Can he do the same over dominant big man June Mar Fajardo’s bid for a historic fifth consecutive PBA MVP award?

The 6-foot-1 Pringle emerged as the new scoring champion in what could be considered as his finest season in Asia’s first pay-for-play league and, in the process, put himself in solid position to end the 6-foot-10 Fajardo’s stranglehold on the highest individual award.

Pringle, 31, the top overall pick in the 2014 PBA Rookie Draft, secured a pole position in the statistical race at the end of the PBA’s 43rd season, accumulating an average of 35.5 points buoyed by his season-best scoring output of 21.0 points for the Batang Pier.

The PennState standout also proved durable most minutes played with an average of 38.9 per game and 3-point field goals made with 3.0 per outing. However, he also turned out to be the most error prone in the field with 3.2 turnovers every game.

Running at second is Fajardo, the reigning four-time MVP who only scattered 33.1 SPs after a stress fracture on his right shin forced him to sit out most part of the season-ending Governor’s Cup.

He played for just three games in the conference and earned just 10.67 SPs. But the former University of Cebu star racked up the Best Player of the Conference awards in the Philippine Cup and in the Commissioner’s Cup.

Pringle also had a limited stint in the Governors Cup with eight games due to his stint with the Philippine Team. But managed to accumulate 34 SPs—the highest among all contenders for the league’s most coveted award.

Still, Fajardo appears he will gain the nod of the voters who will cast their selections before the league’s Leo Awards on January 13, 2019, on the day the PBA ushers in its 44th season at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

Forty percent of the statistics will be used to determine the MVP winner while the remaining 60 are votes from the media (30%), players (25%) and the PBA Commissioner’s Office.

Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar remained at third with 32.3 SPs, followed by Pingle’s NorthPort teammate Sean Anthony with 31.3. Matthew Wright of Phoenix rounds out the Top Five with 30.0.

Also in contention are Marcio Lassiter of San Miguel (29.80), followed by fellow Beermen Arwind Santos (29.77) and Alex Cabagnot (29.74). Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson is at ninth spot with (29.6) while NLEX new recruit Poy Erram, formerly of Blackwater, is at 10th place (28.5).

Magnolia ace guard Paul Lee is also a contender for the MVP trophy for winning the Best Payer of the Conference award in the season-ending Governor’s Cup.

Meanwhile, Phoenix Petroleum forward Jason Perkins appears to have virtually secured the the Rookie of the Year award.

The former La Salle big man leads the field with 32.2 SPs followed by fellow Green Archers standout, Jeron Teng of Alaska, who is at distant second with 18.7.

Top draft pick Christian Standhardinger of SMB and No. 2 selection Kiefer Ravena of NLEX did not make the list of contenders because they lack the required minimum number of games a contender must play in a season.

Meanwhile, Fajardo reasserted his presence in the middle by leading the rebounding department with 12.3 boards per game.

Alaska’s Chris Banchero emerged as the top assists man with 5.0 dimes per game while the do-it-all Anthony led in steals with 2.0 per outing. The lanky 6-foot-7 Erram crowned himself as the the ‘King of Swats’ with 1.9 blocks per ballgame.