THE PBA honors the top performers of the 45th Season's lone conference -- the Philippine Cup, when it holds a first ever virtual Special Awards Night on Sunday.
It would be a simple, hour-long program that is in stark contrast from the colorful and glamorous atmosphere of the annual Leo Awards.
Nonetheless, the affair - to be broadcast live from the TV 5 studio in Mandaluyong City starting at 6 p.m. - still serves as the league's way of recognizing the players who shone brightest during the two-month bubble in Clark, Pampanga.
In practicing health and safety protocols with the COVID-19 pandemic still very much around, only a few members of the PBA Board will be present in the studio led by Chairman Ricky Vargas, to be joined also by Commissioner Willie Marcial.
All candidates and eventual winners in the five categories being disputed will be presented through video call.
"Kailangan nating bigyan ng parangal at pasalamatan lahat ng mga players, may award man o wala, para makita naman nila yung sakripisyo at hirap na ginawa nila noong nakaraang Philippine Cup bubble," said Marcial.
Being a special awards night, the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) honor serves as the highlight of the affair.
Contending for the BPC award are Barangay Ginebra's Stanley Pringle, Matthew Wright and Calvin Abueva of Phoenix, the TnT duo of Roger Pogoy and Ray Parks Jr., and Terrafirma's CJ Perez.
Meanwhile, contesting the Outstanding Rookie award are Aaron Black of Meralco, Barangay Ginebra's Arvin Tolentino, Barkley Ebona of Alaska, Magnolia's Aris Dionisio, and Roosevelt Adams of Terrafirma.
In an expected tight battle for the Most Improved Player honor, the candidates include Justin Chua of Phoenix, Jason Perkins also of Phoenix, Prince Caperal of Barangay Ginebra, Meralco's Reynel Hugnatan, Raul Soyud of NLEX, and Rain or Shine's Javee Mocon.
Vying for the Samboy Lim Sportsmanship award are Scottie Thompson of Barangay Ginebra, Rain or Shine's Gabe Norwood, Kevin Alas of NLEX, CJ Perez of Terrafirma, and Phoenix's Calvin Abueva.
Also to be handed out is the Outstanding/Elite Five award. (RG)