By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno

Barangay Ginebra’s Christian Standhardinger (Photo courtesy of PBA Image)

MANILA – Christian Standhardinger is now the leader in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Best Player of the Conference race following the latest update at the end of the elimination round.

The Ginebra big man, who played the entire elimination phase, garnered 38.0 statistical points, way ahead of second placer CJ Perez of San Miguel, who had 35.2 SPs.

NorthPort winger Arvin Tolentino, the current leading scorer among locals with 22.4 points per game, is just closely behind Perez with 35.1 SPs, while TNT’s Calvin Oftana is fourth with 35.0.

Scottie Thompson rounds out the Top 5 as he is fifth with 32.5 SPs, while fellow Gin King Maverick Ahanmisi is sixth with 31.3.

Despite being the top team at the end of the eliminations, only two Magnolia players made the Top 10, Jio Jalalon (seventh with 31.2 SPs) and Mark Barroca (eighth with 29.2).

Making the Top 10 as well are Meralco’s Chris Newsome (ninth with 28.4) and Phoenix’s Jason Perkins (10th with 27.33).

June Mar Fajardo, who was leading the BPC race nearly midway into the conference, dropped out of the Top 25 after missing six straight games due to a hand injury, although he returned on Friday during the Beermen’s win against the Blackwater Bossing to seal a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.

According to PBA rules, players must have played at least 70 percent of the team’s total games to be eligible for an individual award.

Meanwhile, Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson and Bennie Boatwright are in a tight race for the Best Import of the Conference even if they came in as late replacements.

Hollis-Jefferson, who took the place of his younger brother Rondae at TNT, is number one with 67.5 SPs anchored by a league-leading 42.5 points per game average.

On the other hand, Boatwright, who replaced Ivan Aska as SMB import before Christmas, is second with 67.3 SPs powered by an explosive 40.3-point average.

Meralco’s Shonn Miller, the league leader in steals this conference with 4.0 per game, is third in the Best Import race with 55.0 SPs, dropping Johnathan Williams, who had 53.5, to fourth.

Magnolia’s Tyler Bey, who was fourth in the first Best Import update, dropped to sixth after NLEX’s DeAndre Williams-Baldwin zoomed to fifth despite only playing two games.

However, with the Road Warriors already eliminated, Bey is expected to move back to the Top 5 after the quarterfinals this week.

On the other hand, Stephen Holt overtook Cade Flores in the Rookie of the Year race.

The Terrafirma guard is now number one in the top freshman award race with 24.0 SPs, anchored by an all-rookie leading 4.5 assists per game.

The NorthPort forward, on the other hand, fell to second with 23.3 SPs, although he leads the rookies in rebounds with 6.9 per game. (PNA)