MANILA, Philippines -- Early into his sophomore campaign, Jamie Malonzo is proving to be a crucial cog for the NorthPort Batang Pier.
The Filipino-American wing has emerged as one of the reasons for NorthPort's fast start in the 2022-23 PBA Philippine Cup.
He averaged 18.5 points, 15.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.5 steals, and 1.0 block shots in the two outings the team played so far that resulted in wins over Rain or Shine (91-84) and Terrafirma (100-86).
The Batang Pier's 2-0 record earned them a share of the early lead with San Miguel a week into the season-opening meet.
The efficiency and big numbers Malonzo churned out to fill in the gap at the middle for the undersized Batang Pier earned him the season's first Player of the Year honor from the PBA Press Corps.
Proof of how Malonzo has become a force to be reckoned with inside is his league-leading 15.5 rebound average per game early in the season.
"Kapag rumi-rebound siya ang dali naming manalo. Siya talaga 'yung isa sa mga key pieces namin. Kapag rumi-rebound siya, nakakatakbo kami," said teammate Robert Bolick of the 6-foot-6, high-flying forward. "Maganda 'yung mindset niya, pag sinabi mo, gagawin talaga niya."
Malonzo is likewise tied at no. 3 in steals with 2.5 per game, ninth in scoring at 18.5 points, and 10th in block shots with 1.0 per outing.
He beat out the San Miguel duo of Vic Manuel and CJ Perez for the weekly plum.
Others considered for the plum by the men and women regularly covering the PBA beat were Bolick, June Mar Fajardo and Chris Ross of San Miguel, Meralco's Chris Newsome and Reynel Hugnatan, and the trio of Christian Standhardinger, Scottie Thompson, and Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra.