The top two candidates for Most Valuable Player honors, Junmar Fajardo of San Miguel and Jason Castro of TNT, for the 2015-2016 PBA season won’t be in the Finals of the Third Conference. But the top two candidates for Rookie of the Year trophy, Scottie Thompson of Ginebra San Miguel and Chris Newsome of Meralco, will be. Both play the 2 position, although they play point guard when LA Tenorio and Jimmy Alapag need rest.
Meralco will be in the Finals for the first time. Only Reynel Hugnatan, when he was with Alaska, Jimmy Alapag and Jared Dillinger, when both were with TNT, have championship experience. On the part of Ginebra San Miguel, Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand are veterans of championship games. So are LA Tenorio, when he was with Alaska, and Joe de Vance, when he was with Alaska and Purefoods. Japeth Aguilar saw action the last time Ginebra was in the Finals.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone had coached Hugnatan when they were with Alaska, while Meralco coach Norman Black had coached LA Tenorio , Japeth Aguilar, and Nico Salva in Ateneo.
LA Tenorio had taken the role of Helterbrand a few years back and it looks like Thompson has eased out Mark Caguioa from the core of the team. Caguioa was fielded in when Ginebra was leading by more than 20 points and with less than three minutes left. It looks like the end of the era of the Fast and Furious, or the Bandana Kids, as they were known when they were new in the league. Actually, both wore headbands, not bandanas.