Tuesday, January 19, 2021


While COVID-19 was unrelenting and formidable in forcing routine mass-gathering events such as sports games and league season plays to shut down as 2020 rolled on, it was something of a testament to the human spirit and his love for sports that some leagues did manage to get games done right to the championships. The NBA became a sort of your-example with their bubble environment in which they completed the 2019-20 regular season and playoffs. Local basketball league the PBA followed likewise using bubble environments to host the 2020 Philippine Cup from November to December. With that done, awards for the best players in Conference were announced this past Sunday.

And as ESPN-5 would have it, there was no surprise that 2020 PBA Philippine Cup champions the Barangay Ginebra would take the lion’s share of accolades in the league’s Special Awards Night. The event was held virtually and aired in the early evening of January 17. Leading the way for the Ginebra achievers was point guard Stanley Pringle, winner for Best Player of the Conference. He alongside his TNT Tropang Giga counterpart Jayson Castro, are the only interruptions in the otherwise straight BPC victory streak of San Miguel Beerman June Mar Fajardo, from season 2012-13.

How was this possible when, season stats-wise, Pringle ranked sixth among other BPC hopefuls like Booby Ray Parks, Roger Pogoy and Matthew Wright? It came down to voting between league players (he got the most with 67) and the top vote from the PBA commissioner’s office (which counted 300); added to his stats total (641) and media vote total, Pringle finished off with 1,640 points to clinch Best Player. Top stats for the season went to Parks (704) while Wright of Phoenix Super LPG was the media darling with 868.

ESPN-5 newscaster Paolo Del Rosario posted on Twitter a breakdown of points received for all contenders in the PBA Special Awards for the 2020 Philippine conference. In addition to being BPC, Stanley Pringle is part of the Elite 5 with fellow guard Matthew Wright, and Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar and JP Erram from the Center/Forwards. Norman Black’s son Aaron Black (Meralco) was named Outstanding Rookie, Prince Caperal (Ginebra) was voted Most Improved Player, and Scottie Thompson got the Sportsmanship kudos.

The bubble environment that the PBA set up to play its 2020 Philippine Cup to completion was at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga. Players were bussed under tight health and safety guidelines between their accommodations and the sole game venue, the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center. The virtual presentation of the Special Awards last Sunday was again necessitated by the still-ongoing COVID pandemic.

Image courtesy of GMA News


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