By Chuck Araneta
It’s the middle of a typhoon with rain and wind all around me. All I can think about is how silly it was for me to believe that Gary David would be awarded the Most Valuable Player of this year’s PBA season.
Those that saw and believed what Gary David did tried to wave the blue and black striped flag for the past few weeks, even in the face of odds the size of Junmar Fajardo. It was just too much for the 1% to bear. When Mark Caguioa won the Best Player of the Conference last Friday, the writing was pretty much on the wall, and the dream season for David would end up falling short. Yet again.
This year, the storyline for majority of the PBA has been about the underdogs. We had a non-SMC vs MVP team in the All-Filipino Conference. Now, we have another underdog squad threatening to go all the way to win a crown that no one expected them to win.
We are a country of underdogs. We embrace going against the odds. That’s why we could identify with Pacquiao as he rose to the top. We even cheered for that Pinay “birit” kid who ended up 2nd on American Idol. We love to stand on the shoulders of giants and take them down.
Mark Caguioa’s sustained excellence was just brilliant to witness. But I still believe that Gary David was the story of the season. It seems so long since the All Filipino Conference, but during that stretch, he FORCED people to change the channel on their TVs to the PBA, check twitter and box scores so that they wouldn’t be left out of water cooler discussions at work. And that was the start of the streak, a scoring run that was unmatched for decades. That’s the storyline of the season. That’s what Gary David’s campaign this year meant to the PBA.
I believe that Mark Caguioa is an awesome player. I respect his body of work this season, and how one freak injury halted his run towards another championship in the Governors Cup. He makes a fine MVP, and that accolade is something that was due him, even during last season.
But it shouldn’t have been this way, not this year. Not the year that Gary David said a big “eff you” to the entire PBA system. While teams compete in an arms race that separates the have-nots from the have-everythings, Gary David decided that he would carry his team on his back and basically become the number 1 option, the import, the franchise player. The everything for the Powerade Tigers.
Yes, Gary fell short in making the semis 2 out of 3 conferences. But no one has been more electric, essential, elevative, and valuable to his team this whole season. I know that this MVP was a long time coming for Mark Caguioa. He’s no longer one of the best players in the PBA to have never won an MVP award. Now his name belongs to the true greats, where it rightfully belongs. But Gary David deserved to be there too. And now, we don’t know if he will get there again.
We got the MVP that people wanted, not the MVP that people needed. CA
Chuck Araneta, a life-long Alaska fan, writes for SLAM Philippines, expresses opinions on the From The Stands podcast and appears on FTW. Follow @chuck_araneta on Twitter.