Philippine basketball

June Mar Fajardo leads 4-way PBA MVP battle

Philip Matel

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June Mar Fajardo leads 4-way PBA MVP battle

CONSISTENT. June Mar Fajardo remains in the MVP mix.

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San Miguel stalwart June Mar Fajardo holds the inside track in the MVP race before the new PBA season tips off this November

MANILA, Philippines – A four-way battle headlined by familiar faces in the race to the PBA Season 47 Most Valuable Player (MVP) is heating up, with the awardee set to be feted during the Season 48 opener on November 5 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

As announced by the league on Thursday, September 28, six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo holds the inside track to win his seventh, which would extend the record he already has.

Fajardo, who claimed the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) during the Philippine Cup, is leading the pack with an average of 42.2 statistical points (SPs).

SPs make up the biggest chunk of criteria in the tabulation for the MVP award, representing 45%, and is followed up by 30% from media votes and 25% from the players.

The Cebuano big man pumped in 17.7 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game, winning the All-Filipino crown and Finals MVP to boot.

Just behind Fajardo is San Miguel Beer teammate CJ Perez with 36.1 SPs, having normed a team-high 18.7 points, 6.1 boards, 4.2 assists, and 1.9 steals.

He contended for the BPC in each of the three conferences but did not win any of them.

Meanwhile, reigning MVP Scottie Thompson of Barangay Ginebra is not too far at third with 35.5, having contributed 13.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.6 steals, and 0.6 blocks per contest.

The all-around guard was awarded the BPC during the mid-season Commissioner’s Cup.

Ginebra teammate Christian Standhardinger completes the quartet with 33.6 SPs after averaging 15.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4.0 assists, along with a BPC in the season-ending Governors’ Cup.

Standhardinger also carries the distinction of winning the Commissioner’s Cup Finals MVP after downing guest team Bay Area Dragons in seven games.

As MVP candidates, the four are automatically considered in the Mythical Five race.

Joining Thompson and Perez in the guard slots are Maverick Ahanmisi, Kevin Alas, Aaron Black, Robert Bolick, Jayson Castro, Jio Jalalon, RR Pogoy and Mikey Williams.

In the running for the forward/center spots with Fajardo and Standhardinger are Calvin Abueva, Jamie Malonzo, Calvin Oftana, Jeron Teng, Arvin Tolentino and Don Trollano.

Blackwater’s Ato Ular is the frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year with 23.8 SPs, followed by Justin Arana of Converge (22.7), Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser of NLEX (22.1), and Tyler Tio of Phoenix Super LPG (19.8).

Also to be handed out during the Leo Awards, an eponymous honor for the league’s first commissioner, are the Most Improved Player, Sportsmanship Award, and the All-Defensive Team.

Ahanmisi, Malonzo, Tolentino, Trollano and RK Ilagan vie for the the Most Improved trophy, while Alas, Black, Castro, Fajardo, Thompson, and Paul Zamar battle for the Sportsmanship plum. —

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