MANILA, Philippines – When at his full strength, June Mar Fajardo rules the PBA Philippine Cup.
Fajardo captured a record-extending ninth Best Player of the Conference and his seventh in the All-Filipino tournament after a stellar individual campaign that saw him lead San Miguel to the finals for the first time in three years.
The six-time MVP averaged 18.6 points, a league-leading 13.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.4 blocks through the semifinals to top the statistical points (SPs) battle with an average of 41.5 SPs.
Fajardo led the statistical race throughout the conference, proving that he has rediscovered his old, deadly form after suffering a shin injury that momentarily derailed his career.
The foundation of the Beermen dynasty, Fajardo won six straight BPC plums in the Philippine Cup from 2014 to 2019 before he sustained the injury in the lead-up to the 2020 season.
Fajardo missed out on the award in the next three conferences that followed his injury, a stretch that witnessed the winningest franchise in PBA history crash out of the quarterfinals twice.
But with Fajardo back in tiptop shape, San Miguel topped the eliminations with a 9-2 card, blew out Blackwater in the quarterfinals, and survived Meralco in the semifinals to arrange a finals date with defending champion TNT.
Fajardo bested teammate CJ Perez for the coveted plum in runaway fashion with a total of 1119 points as he also earned the highest votes from the media (537) and players (81) to add to his 501 points in statistics.
Perez – who finished with 776 points – ranked behind Fajardo in statistics with 39.3 SPs built on averages of 18.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and a league-best 2.6 steals.
Tropang Giga star Mikey Williams placed third in the BPC duel with 610 points after churning out a league-leading 20.6 points on top of 4.8 assists and 4.5 rebounds.
Barangay Ginebra duo Scottie Thompson and Japeth Aguilar also contended for the award. – Rappler.com