University of Santo Tomas center Karim Abdul of Cameroon topped the race for the coveted Most Valuable Player award halfway into the 75th UAAP basketball tournament.
The 6-foot-6 Abdul registered 81.7143 statistics points to gain a five-point lead over National University star and reigning MVP Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. after the league's first round hostilities.
The 20-year old Abdul averaged 17.6 points, a league-best 13.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks and had six double-double games to help UST post a 6-1 record for a share of the top spot with defending champion Ateneo.
Though pleased with this development, UST coach Pido Jarencio said he would rather let his hulking yet soft-spoken cager, who made his UAAP debut last year, to focus on bigger goals.
"Hindi na siguro kailangan pagtuunan ng pansin o habulin pa (yang MVP), basta ang importante ay makatulong siya sa team," Jarencio told the Bulletin. "Ang maganda sa kanya ngayon e mas tumalino siyang maglaro, talagang inaraw-arawan namin siya."
Should Abdul maintain his consistency, he will become the first foreigner to win the MVP since Far Eastern University's American star Anthony Williams in 1981.
Parks placed second with 76.7143 statistical points after topping the tourney in scoring at 20.7 points and assists with an average of 5.0 per game. He also had 1.9 steals and 1.4 blocks for the Bulldogs, who are tied for fourth with La Salle at 4-3.
Running third is Ateneo center Greg Slaughter with 68.1429 points while Far Eastern University guard Terrence Romeo is in fourth at 66.1429 points.
La Salle's Jeron Teng, who sizzled for 35 points in Saturday's 87-86 double overtime win over NU, is in fifth with 58.2857 points.