Philippine basketball

Arwind Santos, June Mar Fajardo to be feted by PBA Press Corps

Delfin Dioquino
Arwind Santos, June Mar Fajardo to be feted by PBA Press Corps

PBA STARS. Former teammates Arwind Santos (left) and June Mar Fajardo share the spotlight in the PBA Press Corps Awards Night.

PBA Images

Arwind Santos will receive the Defensive Player of the Year plum, while June Mar Fajardo will be crowned the Comeback Player of the Year

MANILA, Philippines – NorthPort veteran Arwind Santos and San Miguel star June Mar Fajardo will be recognized in the PBA Press Corps Awards Nights at the Novotel Manila on Tuesday, June 21.

Santos will receive the Defensive Player of the Year plum, while Fajardo will be crowned the Comeback Player of the Year, after the former teammates impressed last season.

At 41 years old, Santos is the oldest to win the accolade given by the men and women regularly covering the PBA beat as he earns his third Defensive Player of the Year citation, which he clinched in 2008 and 2011.

Santos also ties Marc Pingris and Chris Jackson for most Defensive Player of the Year selections.

Defying Father Time, Santos averaged 14.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and a league-best 1.5 blocks per game last season to make the Mythical First Team and All-Defensive Team.

Meanwhile, Fajardo successfully returns from a one-year absence caused by a shin injury as he captures the Comeback Player of the Year award named after PBA legend Bogs Adornado.

Adornado came back from career-threatening injuries on the way to an illustrious PBA career that saw him be named Most Valuable Player thrice.

The six-time MVP Fajardo averaged 13.8 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in his first season back, and led San Miguel to a semifinals appearance in the Philippine Cup and a quarterfinals stint in the Governors’ Cup.

Finishing fifth in statistical points, Fajardo joined Santos, Barangay Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson, TNT’s Mikey Williams, and Magnolia’s Calvin Abueva in the Mythical First Team.

Williams will also be feted as the Scoring Champion and a member of the All-Rookie Team, which features NorthPort’s Jamie Malonzo, NLEX’s Calvin Oftana, Rain or Shine’s Santi Santillan, and Terrafirma’s Joshua Munzon.

Named the Rookie of the Year, Williams led the league in scoring with 19.5 points on top of 4.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists.

In total, Williams will collect three hardwares as he receives the Order of Merit alongside Magnolia’s Ian Sangalang, NorthPort’s Robert Bolick, and Phoenix’s Matthew Wright.

The Order of Merit is awarded to players who got the most number of Player of the Week citations from the Press Corps. – Rappler.com

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.