Deleon won the regular season MVP plum, while Esdrelon took the Finals MVP trophy.
De Leon did an impressive quarterbacking job for Joeten and although assists were not officially recorded during the round-robin regular season, he averaged at least six in every match. He was also the most consistent scorer for this team, averaging 19.1 points per game.
The Joeten guard hit double figures in seven of their eight games. De Leon started the tournament with an 8-point performance in their opening day loss to Micronesian Brokers, Inc. before gaining his shooting touch and maintaining it in the last seven matches. He registered his best offensive game in their last regular season match, sizzling for 31 points against cellar-dweller Top Development, Inc.
With Deleon on top of his form, Joeten managed to win six of its last seven games after dropping its opener and gained one of the two automatic semis berths in the inaugural league. Joeten was then paired with the unbeaten Shirley’s in the semifinals and lost to settle for the third place finish, as the former later downed Public School System, 78-71, in the consolation match with De Leon leading his team with 22 points.
Meanwhile, in the best-of-three finals showdown between Shirley’s and MBI/Anchor, Esdrelon also averaged in double figures in three games. He had 23 markers in their 89-80 win in Game 1, tallied 29 in the 89-93 loss in Game 2, and posted 16 in the deciding Game 3 win, 91-83.
The long-time guard provided stability in Shirley’s game when MBI made a rally in the fourth quarter. He then tried bringing Shirley’s back into contention in Game 2 after they trailed by as much as 18, but fell short. In Game 3, he broke in double figures right at the end of the first half to keep Shirley’s afloat before the rest of his teammates took over in the second.
Esdrelon was not the top favorite for the Finals MVP plum. Burly forward Matt Duenas was. However, Saipan Tribune learned that Duenas lost in the race due to an unsportsmanlike conduct in Game 2 after a headbutt on Angelo Fernando, who pushed the former’s teammate Ariel Drillon to the sidelines in front of Shirley’s bench in a battle for the loose ball.
Despite failing to get the Finals MVP award, Duenas still went home with an individual trophy as he made it to the Mythical Five, joining De Leon, MBI/Anchor’s Ivan De Vero, Joeten’s Alex Lauron, and PSS’ Jerry Diaz.