By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno

CJ Perez of San Miguel Beer (with ball), 2024 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Best Player of the Conference (Photo courtesy of PBA Images)

MANILA – CJ Perez of San Miguel Beer was the runaway winner of the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Perez received the top local award for the season-opening tournament before Game 4 of the conference finals between Magnolia and San Miguel at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Friday night.

Perez topped the voting among the media and the players, which catapulted him to his first BPC award.

The San Miguel winger got all but one of first-place votes from the media for 505 points and 18 out of 28 first-place votes from the players for 86 points.

He finished with a total 1,055 points, way ahead of runner-up Christian Standhardinger.

The Ginebra big man, who was number one in the statistical points up to the semifinals, amassed 777 points.

NorthPort’s Arvin Tolentino was third with 559 points, TNT’s Calvin Oftana was fourth with 472, and Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson finished fifth with 446.

Meanwhile, in a huge shocker, Phoenix’s Johnathan Williams got the better of conference finalists Tyler Bey of Magnolia and Bennie Boatwright of San Miguel in a tight Best Import race.

The media votes turned out to be the deciding factors as Williams, a National Basketball Association veteran, got 30 first-place votes for 424 points.

Williams was second in the stats race and only finished third in the player votes without a first-place vote but he topped the race with 1,017 points.

Williams became the first import since Meralco’s Arinze Onuaku in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup to win Best Import honors even if his team did not make the finals.

The Fuel Masters making the semifinals behind his all-around game turned out to be enough of a narrative to sway the votes in his favor.

Bey, who topped the player votes, was second with 908 points, while Boatwright, who was number one in the stats race and number two in the player votes, was third with 878.

Ginebra’s Tony Bishop was fourth with 506.

San Miguel leads the best-of-seven series, 2-1. (PNA)