June Mar Fajardo Dominates PBA Leo Awards and wins his seventh MVP Award
June Mar Fajardo, the towering centerpiece of the San Miguel Beermen, reinforced his standing as the greatest player in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) in a thundering show of domination. Fajardo received an incredible seventh Most Valuable Player (MVP) award at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, November 5, at the renowned Leo Awards ceremony.
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Fajardo’s incredible string of six consecutive MVP awards was broken last year when Scottie Thompson of Barangay Ginebra won the prized award. However, the 6-foot-10 colossus rapidly recaptured his throne, earning an incredible collection of awards.
Fajardo was excellent at the PBA Philippine Cup, collecting a record-extending seventh Best Player of the Conference (BPC) title. He not only won the BPC, but he also led the San Miguel Beermen to the title, adding the Finals MVP trophy to his growing collection.
Fajardo had a tremendous season, averaging 17.7 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.3 blocks. His outstanding play propelled him to the top of the statistical points (SPs) race, with an astounding average of 40.2 SPs, overtaking the fearsome combo of Scottie Thompson and Christian Standhardinger of the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, both of whom were strong candidates for the MVP trophy.
Thompson, who not only won the BPC but also helped Ginebra win the Commissioner’s Cup, demonstrated his versatility with averages of 13.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, six assists, and 1.6 steals.
Christian Standhardinger, on the other hand, had a solid season, averaging 15.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, and four assists. His efforts resulted in the Governors’ Cup BPC prize.
Notably, another San Miguel Beermen player, CJ Perez, was in the running for MVP. Perez topped the league in scoring with 18.7 points per game while also averaging 6.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.9 steals.
The PBA’s Mythical First Team included the MVP above hopefuls Fajardo, Thompson, Standhardinger, and Perez, as well as Jamie Malonzo of Barangay Ginebra.
The Mythical Second Team, on the other hand, consisted of Mikey Williams from TNT, Robert Bolick from NorthPort, Calvin Abueva from Magnolia, Arvin Tolentino from NorthPort, and Calvin Oftana from TNT. Mikey Williams, the runner-up for MVP the previous season, continues to improve.
In addition to being named MVP, Fajardo and Standhardinger were called to the All-Defensive Team, along with Jio Jalalon of Magnolia and Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge of Meralco.
Converge’s Justin Arana won Rookie of the Year after averaging 9.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. Arana’s effort was critical in the FiberXers reaching the PBA playoffs in all three conferences.
Maverick Ahanmisi, Ginebra’s newest recruit, was named Most Improved Player, beating out Arvin Tolentino and NLEX’s Don Trollano. While playing for Converge last season, Ahanmisi had a career-high average of 13.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 3.8 assists.
Kevin Alas of NLEX was awarded the Sportsmanship Award for the second consecutive season, highlighting his second straight season as a league beacon of sportsmanship.