Pair of MVPs dedicate awards to team setter
The 2nd Spikers' Turf Reinforced Conference individual award winners.
In separate acts of humility and selflessness, Spikers’ Turf season MVP Howard Mojica and Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas both of champion Philippine Air Force dedicated their individual trophies to their setter, Jessie Lopez, who both thought that he was more deserving of the honors.
“Mas bagay kay Kuya Jess itong MVP trophy,” said 1st Best Outside Spiker Mojica after receiving a second award, the most-prized season MVP trophy. “Kaya kami gumagaling na mga spikers ay dahil sa husay n’yang mag-set. Walang dudang siya ang tunay na MVP.”
Still shocked by his selection as Finals MVP last Monday in his first debut in any commercial league, Bagunas, in halting voice, did not forget to credit Lopez for the excellent sets he had dished out to him. “Ang sarap paluin ng mga bola ni coach Jess, parang inilalagay at tumitigil sa harap ko kapag nasa ere. Nakakahiya kapag sinayang mo ang kanyang set. Ginawa niya akong Finals MVP pero sa totoo lang, siya dapat ang tumanggap ng aking trophy.”
Air Force coach Rhovyl Verayo concurred with his two players. “We won because of Jessie. He deserved any of the two MVP trophies or both, if I may say so. He called the shots on the floor and my spikers were only as good as his sets were. Maybe next time, maybe next season, a setter will be recognized as season or Finals MVP.”
Of course, Lopez romped off with the Best Setter award, his third in Spikers’ Turf, an annual tournament put up by Sports Vision in cooperation with official outfitter Accel and official ball Mikasa, and his second straight this year after capturing the same award in the 2016 Open Conference.
Except for the Finals MVP, all individual awards were based on statistics compiled by players in the elimination phase only. But just to show you how gifted a setter Lopez is, father of a one-year-old boy, he was credited with making 58 of Air Force’s total of 61 excellent sets in Game 1 of the Air Force-Cignal best-of-three championship playoff as against the opposing team’s 37 total. He had 53 excellent sets in Game 2 or 13 more than HD Spiker Glacy Ralph Diezmo’s 40 and five more than Cignal’s 48 total.
A surfeit of heroes
Suspenseful games were the norm rather than the exception in the season-ending Third Conference of Spikers’ Turf. And each never lacked for heroes; in fact, there were plenty who shone and made each game memorable – and the selection of individual awardees much more difficult than last year.
Here’s the last batch of exceptionally outstanding players that will be remembered as the best of the lot in the 2016 Spikers’ Turf Third Conference:
1st Best Outside Spiker – Howard Mojica (Air Force)
2nd Best Outside Spiker – Lorenzo Capate Jr. (Cignal)
Best Libero – Sandy Montero (Cignal)
Best Setter – Jessie Lopez (Air Force)
1st Best Middle Blocker – Keeno Franco (IEM)
2nd Best Middle Blocker – Peter Torres (Cignal)
Best Opposite Spiker – Berlin Paglinawan (Champion Supra)
Season MVP – Howard Mojica (Air Force)
Finals MVP – Bryan Bagunas (Air Force)