Christian Standhardinger, Paul Lee and Chris Banchero
PBA BPC derby a three-cornered fight
(The Philippine Star) - November 26, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — New recruit Christian Standhardinger of San Miguel leads the stats race but two others – Paul Lee of Magnolia and Chris Banchero of Alaska – appear to be the only ones left in the chase for the Best Player of the Conference race heading to the PBA Governors Cup finals where their teams are on a collision course.

Standhardinger is ahead in the stats department but is losing his grip of the lead with the ouster of the Beermen. In his place, Lee and Banchero are fast gaining ground after leading their teams to the finals in the season-ending tourney.

The wide-open battle for the Best Import plum has also boiled down to a tossup between Alaska Milk’s Mike Harris and Magnolia’s Romeo Travis.

Barangay Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee, Phoenix Petroleum’s Eugene Phelps, Meralco’s Allen Durham, NLEX’s Aaron Fuller and Blackwater’s Henry Walker were still in the race before their teams bowed out.

Stats-wise, Harris is ahead of Travis with averages of 30.31 points, 20.69 rebounds, 2.81 assists, 1.13 steals and 1.00 block.

 Meanwhile, the Magnolia import, a BPC winner in his previous PBA stint with Alaska Milk, norms 24.5 markers, 14.8 boards, 4.81 dish-offs and 2.0 steals.

Standhardinger leads the locals with 41.9 SPs (statistical points) a game, ahead of Stanley Pringle of NorthPort (34).

At third is Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar (32.9), followed by Lee (31.64) and Banchero (31.56).

Banchero was third through the elims until an ankle injury he suffered in their last game in the elims dropped him to fifth.

But both Lee and Banchero could boost their respective drives in the finals that start Dec. 5 at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

A new BPC winner will emerge since all contenders have yet to win the coveted individual plum.

The final determining factor in the BPC and Best Import derbies is the balloting among the players, the sports media and the PBA Commissioner’s Office.

Going into the finals, Lee averages 17.64 points, 4.43 rebounds, 3.14 assists and 1.86 steals while Banchero puts in 14.4 markers, 4.6 boards and tournament-best 7.13 dish-offs and 1.0 steal.

Standhardinger leads the tourney in scoring (22.8) and rebounds (13.4) in a strongest showing by a rookie in a tourney in years.

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