by Jo Fabian Jr.

SANTIAGO – LaLiga de Campeones Commissioner William De La Cruz announced today that the Taco Bell LDC MVP Award has been permanently named for Dominican Legend Felipe Lopez.

The Taco Bell Felipe Lopez MVP Award will be presented on Saturday, March 12 at the conclusion of the 2022 LDC Season in Santiago, where the league is celebrating the career of Felipe Lopez.

“Felipe Lopez is synonymous with Dominican Basketball and embodies the spirit of this global celebration of our game,” said De La Cruz.  “He always relished the opportunity to compete with the best of the best and perform at the highest level for millions of fans around the world.”

He was nicknamed "The Dominican Michael Jordan", ranked above Allen Iverson in high school and graced the cover of Sports Illustrated: former phenom Felipe Lopez's rise through the basketball ranks was more than a sports story but a tale about immigrants in America.

Lopez was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in 1994 along with USA Today and 1st Team All-American Honors.  As a senior he averaged 17.6 ppg and garnered All-Big East First Team honors. He finished his career with 1,927 points, placing him fourth all-time in St. John's history behind former players Chris Mullin, Malik Sealy, and D'Angelo Harrison and sixth in Big East history with 1,222 conference points, while also ranking seventh all time in steals, 14th in assists, and 20th in rebounds. He also holds the St. John's record for most three-pointers made in a single season (60) and in a career (148

López was selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the 24th pick in the 1998 NBA draft and was immediately traded, along with Carl Herrera, to the Vancouver Grizzlies for point guard Antonio Daniels. López's drafting into the NBA was cause for great celebration in the heavily Dominican community of Washington Heights in New York City. He was known as the "Dominican Michael Jordan"

The winner of the 2022 Taco Bell Felipe Lopez MVP Award will be determined by fans (who account for 25% of the vote) and a media panel (75% of the vote).  This is the first year that Taco Bell will serve as the title partner of the LDC Award.